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Calif. Woman Sues Dating Site Over Alleged Assault

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(CBS)

(CBS)

LOS ANGELES (CBS / AP) — A California woman has sued popular website Match.com, saying she was sexually assaulted by a man she met through the online dating service.

The civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court contends the alleged assailant had previously faced sex crime charges and that the website could have prevented the attack if it had checked his criminal background. The woman suing the website is an entertainment executive identified in court documents only as Jane Doe.

Her attorney Mark L. Webb said his client was attacked at her home by Alan Paul Wurtzel after the two went on a second date at Urth Caffe in West Hollywood last year.

Wurtzel’s attorney Sharon Morris said the incident involving Webb’s client was “a consenting sexual encounter between two consenting adults.”

A court spokeswoman could not confirm whether charges had been filed in connection with the recent court case.

In a separate case, Wurtzel was charged with two felony sexual assault counts in Los Angeles Superior Court last year. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. The case’s next court date is April 26.

The civil suit filed Wednesday demands that Match.com screen its members for sexual predators. The lawsuit asks for a temporary injunction barring the site from signing up more members until Webb’s client’s demands are met.

Webb said basic screening would have prevented the attack and revealed Wurtzel’s history.

Match.com attorney Robert Platt said the company can’t be expected to screen users.

“Then you’d have to ask for people’s social security numbers, which they don’t want to do. And of course you’d have to pass on the cost to the consumer of doing this,” he said.

The company has no liability, he claimed. “There is a provision on the website saying that they’re not liable for this, and it lets people know that they’re not providing this service and people use it at their own risk.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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