Paula’s rapist used multiple Tinder profiles to lure women even after he was charged


The parents of a woman who was sexually assaulted by a serial rapist who she met on Tinder have called for the company to stop allowing sex offenders to stay on the app.

Glenn Hartland was dubbed the « Tinder rapist » and last year was sentenced to more than 14 years in jail for raping three women and indecently assaulting another.

Paula was one of those women. She met Hartland on Tinder in 2014 and after dating him for three months, she broke it off. It was then he came to her apartment and raped her.

Even after he was charged, Hartland’s victims say he continued to use Tinder, setting up multiple profiles under different names to try and lure women.

Her parents, Simon and Barbara, have spoken publicly for the first time to a joint investigation by triple j Hack and Four Corners, revealing how shattered their daughter was by the ordeal.

« The effect of the betrayal and sexual assault by someone who turned out to be a predator damaged her psychologically and emotionally and her mental health deteriorated as a result, » Simon said.

« We don’t think she was ever the same after what happened to her … She had mental health issues that led from that and we could see the changes. »

The joint investigation has found Tinder is enabling serial sexual predators to thrive on its platform and has built a business model that exposes its users to assault.

« They have safety warnings. But it’s obvious with these sites, you can use a false name, you can have a false profile, » he said.

« They’ve got to have people on their sites raking in millions of dollars and anything they do to make it more difficult for people is, obviously, not in their financial interest. »

A joint Four Corners and triple j Hack investigation finds Tinder fails to act on sexual assault complaints and lets rapists hide.

All you need to sign up for Tinder is a phone number and an email.

Without mandatory ID verification, it is hard to know if the person you are messaging is who they say they are.

But media reports last week stated the company would soon be rolling out an optional photo verification feature for its Australian users.

Tinder’s blog states, « The feature allows members to self-authenticate through a series of real-time posed selfies, » and, « Verified profiles will display a blue checkmark so members can trust their authenticity. »

Rosalie Gillett has researched women’s safety on Tinder at the Queensland University of Technology and said it is not clear how effective these optional features are.

Victoria Police prosecuted Glenn Hartland and, in a statement, said without identity verification it was almost impossible for a dating app company to prevent an offender from creating multiple profiles.

« Victoria Police is reliant on an individual company’s internal checking processes to verify the identification of the person making the profile, to ensure users are genuine, » a spokeswoman said.

« From a police perspective, we encourage app users to ensure they check the terms and conditions of a platform before using it, and to learn how to report users who breach these conditions. »

Barbara and Simon said their daughter’s aim was to eradicate the stigma of sexual assault involving a dating app.

« Because she was quite an intelligent young woman, she felt ashamed that she was duped, » Barbara said.

« She wanted that message to get across, to not feel ashamed of whatever happened to you, whether it was the sexual assault or the decisions you made. It’s not your fault that this happened to you. »

Match Group declined Four Corners’ repeated requests for an interview, but said in a statement:

« We’re outraged that singles anywhere may experience fear, discomfort, or worse when looking to meet someone special, and we will always work to improve our systems to make sure everyone on our apps feels respected and safe. »

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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