|ChristianMingle Date Rape Victims Sought by Calif. Cops|
|By RUSSELL GOLDMAN (@GoldmanRussell)||Feb 18, 2013, 12:50 PM|
A suspected rapist accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met on ChristianMingle.com may have used the dating site to prey on women while he traveled across the country, California police said today.
Sean Patrick Banks, 37, a former Navy sailor, used a fake name to contact a woman who he allegedly raped in November, cops in La Mesa, Calif., said. Investigators believe that he used additional aliases to contact other women on the popular website and police hope that if there are additional victims they will recognize Banks.
Banks lives in Del Mar, Calif., and is currently unemployed but previously "travelled frequently around various spots in the U.S." for work, widening the search for potential victims from Southern California to across the country, said La Mesa Police spokesman Lt. Matt Nicholass.
"We're looking to see if there are any other victims," Nicholass told ABCNews.com. "We're trying to locate other victims who recognize him by his face, because they may not know his real name is Sean."
Cops accuse Banks of posing on the site as "Rylan Butterwood" and "Rylan Harbough."
His alleged use of fake names complicated police efforts to track him down after a La Mesa woman accused him of rape at her home in November on their first face-to-face date.
"La Mesa police tried to identify him for a couple of months," Nicholass said, adding that a break in the case came after ChristianMingle.com turned over computer records that helped cops identify Banks.
Banks was charged with two counts of rape and pleaded not guilty. He posted bond of $500,000 and was released. Calls to several numbers associated with Banks were not returned. Authorities did not know if he had obtained an attorney.
"We continue to assist the La Mesa police department with its investigation in every way possible. The safety and security of our members is extremely important to us," ChristianMingle.com said in a statement through spokeswoman Arielle Schechtman. "In addition to having experts manually review all profile content and photos, we have developed several proprietary, automated tools to ensure the highest possible level of safety and privacy for our communities."