Wade Mitchell Ridley
A Las Vegas woman who was severely beaten by a man she met through Match.com is suing the online dating site for $10 million two years and multiple surgeries after the attack that left her hospitalized for months.
The woman, Mary Kay Beckman, was stabbed multiple times with a butcher knife on Jan. 21, 2011 by Wade Mitchell Ridley, and when the knife broke, he stomped on her head. Ridley, who was sentenced to 28 to 70 years, died in prison last year. He was also facing a murder charge in Arizona for the stabbing death of a former girlfriend a few weeks after the attack on Beckman.
Beckman filed suit in Clark County, Nevada, accusing Match.com of negligence, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive trade, failure to warn and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The site, she said, failed to warn her about the dangers of meeting "an individual whose intentions are not to find a mate, but to find victims to kill or rape."
The real estate agent said she joined Match.com about a month before her first in-person meeting with Ridley on Sept. 26, 2010. They dated for 10 days, but she called it off. That's when Ridley started sending her threatening and harassing messages.
On Jan. 21, 2011, Ridley attacked Beckman in her garage, and left her for dead, she says, when she stopped making a "gurgling noise."
Beckman, now 50, continues to recover and to speak out against online dating "I do not believe that online dating is a safe venue for men or women," she recently told a local FOX TV reporter.
Match.com, in a statement to NBC News Friday, said that what happened to Beckman "is horrible, but this lawsuit is absurd. The many millions of people who have found love on Match.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."
Safety, the site said, "is very important to Match," which, like many other online dating sites, includes online and offline tips for staying safe.
In California, Match.com and two other dating sites, eHarmony and Spark Networks, signed a joint statement of business principles, agreeing to screen for sex offenders and take other safety steps after a woman was assaulted on a date, the state attorney general's office said last March.
The joint statement was prompted by the 2010 sexual assault of a Los Angeles-area woman by a man she met through Match.com, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office said. The woman sued Match.com, seeking a court order requiring the site to check applicants' backgrounds to weed out convicted sex offenders. She dropped the suit after the site provided proof of such screening.
Meanwhile, in the last two years, friends and work associates of Beckman have held fundraisers for her, including one last year, with information shared about it on YouTube (see video below).
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First published January 25 2013, 1:27 PM