An English man who has been described by police as a “sexual predator” was found guilty of raping five woman and attacking two more that he met through an online dating site.
By using two profiles, 50-year-old Jason Lawrance from Liphook, Hampshire, England, met and attacked at least seven women through Match.com. Investigators were first alerted to Lawrance in November 2014 after someone contacted Derbyshire Police to report the rape of a friend.
Although Lawrance denied the five counts of rape, one attempted rape and one sexual touching, he was found guilty by a jury at Derby Crown Court on March 2. He will be sentenced on March 3.
The attacks occurred throughout the country after he signed up for the online dating service in 2009, from June 2011 until November 2014, according to International Business Times. Three acts of sexual abuse occurred within months of marrying someone he met on the website.
Although the confirmed incidents occurred in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire, Lawrence is believed to have talked with thousands of women and that more victims may have been assaulted.
Lawrance persuaded his victims to give him their contact information after claiming that he was unable to upload a picture to his profile. If they wanted to see a photo of him, he sent one to their personal email address instead of through the dating website.
"These women were looking for companionship and instead what they found was a man who was willing to commit serious sexual offenses against them,” stated Detective Chief Inspector Allison Rigby, who was in charge of the police investigation. “The victims are completely unconnected to one another and from different areas of the country, but they have all told a similar story about Jason Lawrance.”
A spokesman from Match.com told the BBC the company was "appalled" at the case, and that the safety of its members is of the utmost concern.
"We are very sorry for those affected and appalled by these terrible acts," the spokesman said. "We commend these individuals for their courage in coming forward, which resulted in a conviction. We also encourage anyone who has been affected by this case or others to come forward to the police."