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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.Even Pennsylvania registered sex offender Seth Mull, whose 17-year history of sex crimes convictions began as a teen, used Match Group’s dating sites; in 2017, Plenty of Fish didn’t flag his eight-year registry status before matching him with a woman who later accused him of rape.Mull is now serving life in prison for her rape and two more rapes, among other sex crimes.
Most incidents occurred in the past five years and during the app users’ first in-person meeting, in parking lots, apartments, and dorm rooms.
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.
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.
The spokesperson described the steps the company takes to ensure customer safety on its platforms — from blocking users accused of sexual assault to checking across its apps for accused users’ accounts and flagging them on a companywide distribution list.
(Durgin didn’t respond to requests for comment.) Ok Cupid allowed another registered sex offender, Michael Miller, of Colorado, to create a new account after his 2015 conviction for raping a woman he met through the site.