Guilty verdict in dating site rape trial - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Guilty verdict in dating site rape trial

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A "dangerous Internet predator" was convicted Monday of raping two women, including one he met on the dating website ChristianMingle.com.

Sean Patrick Banks, 39, was convicted of five counts, including forcible rape and rape of an unconscious person. The defendant faces 40 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 5.

Jurors deliberated parts of three days before finding Banks guilty.

"I'm very pleased that the jury held Mr. Banks, who is a very dangerous Internet predator, responsible for his series of crimes against women," Deputy District Attorney David Williams III said.

Banks was convicted of raping a La Mesa woman in her apartment after they met on ChristianMingle.com in November 2012 and raping a woman he met on a different dating website, Match.com, in 2009.

The defendant was also convicted of two counts of forcible sexual penetration and one count of burglary. He was acquitted of attempting to dissuade a witness.

Defense attorney Brian J. White said he was "deeply disappointed" in the jury's decision, as were family members and friends of the defendant, who cried as the verdicts were announced.

"I think they're in a state of shock really," White said. "This was a long case. The consequences are very significant, and it's been very emotional for the family, for the client, for all of us really. So it was a big blow."

White said the case involved "consent given" and "consent withdrawn," and when the victims told Banks to stop his sexual advances, he did so.

Williams painted a different picture of the defendant, saying that police going through one of Banks' computers found a downloaded book that described women as "objects" and detailed dating and seduction techniques "for a guy who's fed up being a nice guy."

Williams said in his opening statement that the La Mesa woman -- identified as "K.K." -- met Banks on ChristianMingle.com and assumed him to be a good Christian man.

The woman and Banks -- who called himself "Rylan" -- talked about Jesus and the Bible and decided to meet face-to-face for the first time the night of Nov. 21, 2012.

"He said the right things to her," the prosecutor told the jury, noting that Banks called K.K. "sweetie" and cutie" online.

Banks arrived at the woman's apartment with "his own bar" and made K.K. a mixed drink, which she took one sip from, Williams said.

The two started kissing on her couch, according to the prosecutor, but the woman resisted when he started to fondle her. Williams said Banks grabbed the woman by the arm and led her to the bedroom, but she didn't scream or fight because she only knew his first name and thought he would kill her.

The prosecutor said Banks got on top of the victim and raped her.

"K.K. couldn't believe that she had just been raped," Williams told the jury.

After the sexual encounter, Banks left, then texted the woman and made it seem like he was never there, the prosecutor said. He said she told the defendant, "There's something wrong with you. It's weird."

When contacted at his Del Mar home, Banks told police the sex was consensual and that K.K. was "disturbed," according to Williams.

A second woman, identified as "R.O.," said she met Banks on Match.com in May 2009 and eventually had dinner and drinks with him at a La Jolla restaurant.

The next thing she remembers, she was bent over her own couch and Banks was having sex with her, Williams said.

"R.O. knows she didn't consent," the prosecutor told the jury.

Williams said the woman didn't call police, but came forward nearly four years later when La Mesa police put out a news release asking for information from any women who think they may have been victimized by Banks.

K.K. told a responding officer that she and Banks didn't have intercourse, but later wrote that he penetrated her, according to White.

Banks told police that everything with K.K. was consensual until they got into the bedroom.

"Sean Banks would spend weeks, if not months, grooming these victims, making them believe he was an honest, trustworthy and Christian man," Williams told reporters.




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