Two women raped due to cyber relationship - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Two women raped due to cyber relationship

Posted: Updated:
Jonathan Rogers Jonathan Rogers
BIRMINGHAM - AL -
Police are sending out a warning to the Birmingham metro after two women were held at gunpoint, raped and robbed this month. The attacks stemmed from online dating and classified sites.

"It's the way to go for people who don't want to go to bars," Linda Scales, who uses online dating says.

Dating sites are becoming a wildly popular way to meet singles. While most of them boast a high number of successful relationships, caution is key when it comes to sharing your personal information.

"They will start like he did and then be like, do you like massages?" Scales said. "Then they go a little further than that."

For two Birmingham women,  it didn't stop there. Birmingham Police arrested their alleged attacker, 22-year-old Jonathan Rogers. He met them online then began talking by phone. In one case, they agreed to meet at his home. One victim reported to police that Rogers forced her inside his residence, ordered her to take off her clothes then raped her.  

Local police are now urging caution with online connections, including UAB police officers, who are offering help through the "Rape Aggression Defense" or RAD program. Tuesday night, we caught up with the instructor who told us 90 percent of preventing an attack is awareness.

"We teach under the philosophy of when this happens to me, not if," Lt. Bonita Sims, UAB Police said. "If means a maybe. This day and age, we go on 'when' this happens to me - that makes it more personal and making it more personal means you're going to prepare for it."

Dating website users like Linda, told us, the best thing to do is not give out too much information and if you decide to meet in person, make it a well-lit public place.

"Meet them in a public place, a restaurant, inside a restaurant, drive my own car, in the daytime, you have to take your own precautions," Scales said.

Rogers is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. He's currently being held in the Jefferson County Jail on bonds totaling $250,000.
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