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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
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Christian Matchmaker Blamed for Stalking

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Religious dating service Christian Mingle failed to take down the profile of a sexual predator though it knew he was under investigation for the rape of two women, a woman claims in court.

Jane LV Doe claims in Superior Court that she was stalked and harassed by defendant Sean Patrick Banks after communicating with him through ChristianMingle.com, which is owned by defendant Sparks Networks.

Doe does not claim she was raped - she says she was stalked and harassed.

Banks, a former Navy lieutenant, was sentenced this month to 37 years to life in state prison for raping two women he met on the Christian dating site, where he used aliases to ensnare his victims, Reuters reported.

A San Diego County jury convicted him of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, forcible sexual penetration and burglary with intent to commit rape.

In her Nov. 20 lawsuit, Jane Doe claims that Christian Mingle's owner Spark Networks said its service provides "'safe, convenient places to meet and make special connections'"

"As such, Spark Networks specifically and implicitly represented to plaintiff that defendant Banks was a man of Christian faith and that he could be 'God's match for [plaintiff].' Plaintiff reasonably assumed that defendant Banks was a person worthy of her trust and that she and defendant Banks shared similar values, traditions and beliefs," the lawsuit states. (Brackets in complaint.)

Doe says she first shared messages with Banks through ChristianMingle.com two years ago.

She grew tired of him and began to ignore his messages, but somehow Banks got hold of her phone number and called her, she claims.

Banks, whom she knew as "Rylan," told her during one phone conversation that he was a naval forensic computer specialist, wanted to make sure she was protected online and was "looking out for plaintiff's best interests," she says.

"Meanwhile, defendant Banks was in fact grooming plaintiff, as he had done with numerous other unsuspecting female online daters, for rape," the complaint states.

Doe says that Banks began harassing her, on one occasion leaving 17 messages on her voice mail. Then in February 2013 he delivered the shocking news that he had been arrested for rape, burglary and battery, she says.

"Out of sheer fear, plaintiff began crying hysterically," the 23-page filing states. "Banks responded to plaintiff's reaction by saying 'Thank you for your empathy, I am going to be ok. I'm hiding out in hotel rooms. I'm like America's most wanted man by the media.'"

After she notified La Mesa Police Department, authorities asked Christian Mingle to remove Banks' profile to protect woman who use the service, she says.

But Christian Mingle "failed to heed" that request, according to the lawsuit. Doe says she came into contact with Banks again through the site, presumably when he was using another fake name.

Doe seeks punitive damages and costs for negligence, negligent failure to warn, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, constructive fraud and stalking.

She is represented by Vince William Finaldi, Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, of Irvine.

Christian Mingle did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Friday.

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