, up until the last few days featured the image of a convicted sex offender, Barrett Riddleberger, alongside his wife Jodi on its homepage, wearing his-and-hers hats reading “Trump” and “Make America Great Again.” Details of Riddleberger’s past were first reported by North Carolina paper in an article published in 2014, and resurfaced this week after local news outlets looked into Riddleberger’s history.
Riddleberger was convicted of “indecent liberty with a child”, a felony, in 1995, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records.
Victims, as well as perpetrators, hide crimes: Only an estimated 17% of all rapes, app-linked or not, are reported to police, the NCA said.The online environment could also lull users into thinking they know someone, and therefore making themselves vulnerable.To date, much of the research on online dating has been conducted by dating companies themselves.In the absence of hard data, it’s anecdotes that shape the conversation about online dating safety.In 2016 Stephen Port was convicted in the UK of killing four young men he met on the gay dating app Grindr.The trouble is that statistics on crimes linked to online dating are sparse.In 2016, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) released findings on data from police forces around the country. Not all the forces collect data specific to dating apps.Over the past four years, 17 people in the Greater Manchester area have reported being raped after using one of two apps, Grindr and Tinder, according to police statistics obtained by Leech through a freedom of information request.A total of 58 people were victims of online dating-related crimes in those four years, some of them sexual. For context, in 2012 the area had an overall average of 243 sexual assaults and rapes every month.)Many apps offer a page of advice for safe dating.However, it puts most of that down to increased reporting and better recording by the police.Better reporting, therefore, might also partly explain why internet dating assaults have increased in the UK.