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.