Man accused of raping woman he met on Christian dating site

LA MESA, Calif. –Investigators sought Friday to determine if an unemployed Del Mar man accused of raping an East County woman he met through a Christian dating website might have had additional victims.

Sean Patrick Banks, 37, was arrested Monday and jailed on suspicion of two sex-assault charges and a count of residential burglary. Two days later, he pleaded not guilty to the allegations, posted $500,000 bail and was released from custody on his own recognizance.

Banks faces 36 years to life in prison if convicted of the charges, according to prosecutors.

Using the online moniker “Rarity,” Banks got in touch with a La Mesa resident on Christianmingle.com last November and visited her home, where he allegedly raped her, Lt. Matt Nicholass said.

The woman, who is in her 20s, did not know Banks’ real name, and it took detectives several months to identify him as the suspected assailant.

Banks also alternately called himself “Rylan Butterwood” and “Rylan Harbough” on the dating website, according to Nicholass.

“After further follow-up in the investigation, the La Mesa Police Department is concerned there may have been more cases (involving) other women,” the lieutenant said.

He believes additional victims could live outside of La Mesa.

“This individual traveled around a lot,” said Nicholass. “And we are concerned that there are people obviously outside of La Mesa or potentially outside of San Diego County that could be a victim.”

Christianmingle.com is working with police on the investigation. Arielle Schechtman, a representative from the website said, “we are in communication with the La Mesa police department and willing to assist them in any way we can with the investigation.”

Schechtman also said the website takes “tremendous precautions” to protect users.

“In addition to having profile review experts manually review all profile text and photos submitted by members,” said Schechtman. “We have also developed several proprietary, automated tools to help identify questionable profiles and to eliminate fraudulent activity in our communities.”

Banks’ next court appearance, a readiness conference, is scheduled for March 1.

32 comments

  • Diego

    Well we don't know how many emails these people exchanged or how well they knew each other, because why would this woman invite a man into her house?! I don't think it's the web site's fault but simply a lack of judgement on the woman's part. Always meet people in a public place!! However I do feel very sorry about what happened and I hope she gets through this.

    • Rapesurvivor

      She could have met him six times in a public place and he acted like a perfect gentleman… invite him home and then he shows his true side. We just don't know. That being said, I would be surprised if there wasn't a red flag somewhere. Personally, I would have googled the name he gave and that would have been the first red flag….

  • Mile Mi

    “Rylan Butterwood” should have been a red flag, that’s an adult film star stage name if I’ve ever heard one.

  • Irma

    Wow, and I thought Christian Mingle was a safe site to look on. Just shows that dating sites suck and are not safe by any means.

      • Lonnie Beerman

        Well, Bob…what sage piece of wisdom do you have to contribute?
        Or have you already reached your capacity?
        (A little advice…put the mirror down.)

        • SST

          Bob is right. This bad act doesnt mean that the whole system of dating sites are unsafe or that they suck. A lot of long term relationships are formed because of these sites. That's pretty common knowledge, so to say that these sites are worthless hazards is, in fact, idiotic.

  • Besmart

    You need to be safe, no matter what. All sites are the same so be smart, just like you would if you met someone at a bar etc…..I met my husband on Match. I have 3 other friends that met their husbands online. Be smart no matter where you meet someone.

    • Flyingbug

      Besmart, I sense that you are blaming the young lady. Meeting at home might not be a great decision, but we don't know the entire story.

  • Lonnie Beerman

    What's the big deal? She was only a Christian. It's not like she was a real person…right?
    Given the way Christians are attacked from all angles, and according to the spirit of those attacks….she desreved it! Christians aren't real people, anyway.
    I mean it's not like she was a socially relevent progressive-liberal or a government-dependent minority.
    The girl actually beleives in God. How selfish can see be?
    She probably lured him over with her Christian virtues just so she could sing hymns then ask for tithing!

    • Lonnies mom

      Yes, I agree Lonnie…Christians are an oppressed minority in the United States. I fervently hope that someday, we Christians will be able to worship freely in our Churches, and maybe even run for political office.

      Yes. You are a complete f**king idiot.

  • Matt

    So he is charged with sexual assault and burglary and they say he traveled around a lot. Now he posted bail and is released on his on recognizance.That just means "its ok, we trust you to show back up for your court date. We wont check up on you." How does this make sense? He will probably rape another woman before his court date.

  • Rapesurvivor

    Creepy predator + vulnerable woman = crime. I have a friend who is so desperate for a man she will give out all sorts of crazy personal info on these dating sites and then later freak out because it put her in a vulnerable position. Just because it says Christian in the title doesn't mean the people using it are actually following Jesus… NOT blaming the victim here, just saying BE SMART LADIES and don't let the loneliness keep you from using the brain cells the Good Lord gave you!! Guys like this are out there, they are smart, good at what they do and what they do is no good!! Praying for the rapist and the victim…

    • Jdx

      I concur..a friend did the same now she dating a abuser and had 2 kids with him. Sad, that she is so desperate and berate herself and be co-dependent on men.

  • oncefallendotcom

    Chances are this person has no prior record, so no record means no background check will weed him out. Same as meeting someone in real life. Somehow, people have grown to believe that we have a magic list that will weed out every potential threat. Well, we can't.

  • endtheviolence

    God is in control all the time, and God is good all the time. God watched the whole thing unfold without intervening. He could have, but chose not to. God values free will too much to do that, except for the victims free will of course. Her free will was cast aside with God watching the whole thing and not helping her. God was just testing her to see if she was truly Christian and willing to forgive her attacker. If she will not forgive him, God will not forgive her, and she will have to suffer the flames of hell for all eternity is she won't forgive him his sin against her. God works in mysterious ways, and his ways are not our ways. The difference between me and God is this: I would have done everything in my power to stop the rapist, where God had the power to do so, and chose to watch it like some sicko perv!

    • Guest

      Bitter? Let's set God aside for a moment. We have a rule of law here that states "innocent until proven guilty". If he is proven guilty, he will be punished.
      Welcome to society, please enjoy your stay.

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  • JDX

    When using Craigslist, authorities suggest to take some precautions. __ Always meet in daylight and in a public place. _ Bring a friend or let someone know where you’re going to meet. _ Always bring your phone and don’t bring a lot of cash. _ Trust your instincts, if sounds too good to be true it probably is. __-Bring a sniper friend if you do carry that much cash_-Bring a smoke bomb/screen if the deal goes bad and use ninja skills

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