Online dating services are no longer seen as the realm of the desperate, with 15% of Americans adults reporting use of a dating website according to the Pew Research Center.  But there remains a dark side to the potential promise of happiness, sexual assault by your dream date.

This week, Denver prosecutors filed charges against a 31-year-old man for sexually assaulting his date whom he met through Tender.com.  The date began at a local restaurant, but when the female felt ill, Brett Sisman took her to his home where he allegedly assaulted her.  And this is not a first for Denver, last year Darren Auger was charged with sexually assaulting his date after a sushi dinner at a Cherry Creek restaurant. Auger entered into a plea deal, avoiding the felony charge of sexual assault.  Auger and his date also met on Tender.

For strategies on preventing this type of attack, visit the safety advice page of the webservice – most of the better known web dating sites offer such advice.  However, if you search for online dating safety, be discerning.  Many of the resulting websites are international “dating” sites which may or may not be legitimate.  You will also come across much discussion of scammers and fraud, which are a concern but not as likely on an established dating site.  Match.com has good basic advice at http://www.match.com/help/safetytips.aspx.