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So how did Plenty of Fish allow such a man to use its service?
His dating app profile said he wanted “to find someone to marry.”Deveau had used dating websites for years, but she told her adult daughter the men she met were “dorky.” She joked about how she could get “catfished” if a date looked nothing like his picture. The two were — in the popular dating platform’s jargon — “matched.”A background check would have revealed that Papamechail was a three-time convicted rapist.
It would have shown that Massachusetts designated him a dangerous registered sex offender.
Yet the analysis suggests that Match’s screening policy has helped to prevent the problem: Almost all of these cases implicated Match Group’s free apps; the only service that scours sex offender registries, Match, had none.
In 2017, Tinder matched Massachusetts registered sex offender Michael Durgin with a woman, and she later told police he had raped her on their first date; Durgin’s two rape charges were dropped after the woman “indicated that she does not wish for the Commonwealth to proceed to trial,” records show.
Scrolling through his pictures, she saw a 54-year-old man, balding and broad, dressed in a T-shirt.
For months, Miller remained on the platform despite appearing on the registries Match screens.
It puts responsibility for policing its users on users themselves.
Customers who sign its service agreement promise they haven’t committed “a felony or indictable offense (or crime of similar severity), a sex crime, or any crime involving violence,” and aren’t “required to register as a sex offender with any state, federal or local sex offender registry.” Plenty of Fish doesn’t attempt to verify whether its users tell the truth, according to the company. They chatted online and eventually arranged a date. But months after their Plenty of Fish match, Deveau became the second woman to report to police that Papamechail raped her after they had met through a dating app.
Other response protocols aren’t standardized across Match Group apps.
In a brief statement, the company said it “takes the safety, security and well-being of our users very seriously.” Match Group said “a relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators.” It added, “We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”Interviews with more than a dozen former Match Group employees — from customer service representatives and security managers at Ok Cupid to senior executives at Tinder — paint a different picture.
Asked about the CJI data, Match Group’s spokesperson said the 157 cases “need to be put in perspective with the tens of millions of people that have used our dating products.”The company declined multiple requests to interview executives and other key employees familiar with its protocols for addressing online dating sexual assault.