A woman in Las Vegas has filed a lawsuit against online dating service Match.com after a man she had gone on a date with through the service brutally attacked her in 2010. Mary Kay Beckman is seeking $10 million in damages after her match, Wade Ridley, hid in her garage and then stabbed her ten times before kicking her in the head. Ms. Beckman has had to have several corrective surgeries following the attack.
Soon after assaulting her, Mr. Ridley was accused of murdering another woman. He was being held as a murder suspect before he committed suicide in jail.
Like other online dating sites, Match.com does not do crimininal background checks on its users, although it does check members agains the sexual offender registry. However, Mr. Ridley did not have a criminal record at the time he was on the service.
The lawsuit hinges on the argument that online dating is inherently unsafe, and that Match.com should come with a warning label notifying users of the potential dangers of meeting strangers online. Ms. Beckman is asking for a disclaimer to be appended to the site. Match.com says it already provides tips for safe online dating on its website.
“The basis of the lawsuit is the advertising that is utilized by Match.com, lulling women and men into a false sense of security,” Ms. Beckman’s attorney, Marc Saggese. told KLAS-TV. Match.com is “absolutely not safe,” he added.
The suit raises some pointed questions about the legal protections of websites and just how culpable they are for the actions of their members. Suddenly sweetheart scams seem so innocuous.
We’ve reached out to Match.com for a statement and will update when we hear back.
Match.com provided Betabeat with the following statement:
“What happened to Mary Kay Beckman is horrible, but this lawsuit is absurd. The many millions of people who have found love onMatch.com and other online dating sites know how fulfilling it is. And while that doesn’t make what happened in this case any less awful, this is about a sick, twisted individual with no prior criminal record, not an entire community of men and women looking to meet each other.”