Rapist used Christian dating site to prey on women

Crime | Whitney Williams

Rapist used Christian dating site to prey on women

Sean Banks
Official police handout

When it comes to online dating, singles can never be too careful. As if they needed any more proof of that, a Southern California man has been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman he met on the Christian dating website, ChristianMingle.com.

Sean Banks, 37, of Del Mar, was taken into custody Monday and booked for an investigation of rape and residential burglary. He is accused of assaulting a woman in her La Mesa home in October, according to La Mesa police Lt. Matt Nicholass.

Police say the assault occurred when the two online daters met in person for the first time.

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ChristianMingle.com encourages daters who wish to meet face-to-face to pick a public place, provide their own transportation, tell a friend where they’re going, and check in with that friend when they return home.

“Safety-wise, meeting on the Net is inherently similar to meeting offline,” the company says on its online safety page. “As long as the same standard dating precautions are followed, cyber-savvy daters can feel truly at ease while getting to know each other. The main thing to remember: trust your instincts and use common sense just like you would offline.”

The company has experts review all profiles and photos to check for fraudulent activity. It also uses automated tools to look for people who may not be interested in legitimate dating. The site does not share its clients’ private information—address, phone number, or even their last names. Disclosure of personal information is entirely up to the individual user.

Investigators do not believe this is Banks’ first online-dating assault, and hope other victims will come forward.

Arielle Schechtman, director of public and community relations for ChristianMingle.com, said the company was assisting police investigators with the case.

“We continuously look for ways to augment the extensive safeguards currently in place to protect our members, identify questionable profiles and eliminate attempted fraudulent activity in our communities,” she said.

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