More Victims Possible in Christian Dating Website Rape Case

Investigators won't discuss how many but said women are coming forward about former U.S. Navy Lt. Sean Banks

By Nicole Gonzales and R. Stickney
|  Thursday, Mar 7, 2013  |  Updated 4:20 PM PDT
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The Del Mar man accused of raping a woman he met on a Christian dating website was held on $1 million bail Wednesday. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales spoke with investigators who say they are getting calls from women around the U.S.

The Del Mar man accused of raping a woman he met on a Christian dating website was held on $1 million bail Wednesday. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales spoke with investigators who say they are getting calls from women around the U.S.

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Beauty Queen Claims Rape Suspect Threatened Her

Victoria Kinney claims she met Sean Banks, a man suspect of rape, through a dating site. She alleges Banks threatened her.
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Investigators are hearing from women around the nation about a Del Mar man accused of raping a woman he met on a Christian dating website.

Sean Banks, 37, faces four charges including rape and rape by intoxication stemming from a 2009 incident and one reported in November.

The former U.S. Navy lieutenant was arrested on Feb. 11 after a La Mesa woman told police she had been raped.

The woman had met Banks through ChristianMingle.com under a different name officials said.

Banks brought alcohol and cups when she invited him to her home to watch a movie prosecutors said in a bail review hearing Wednesday.

When the woman refused to drink, she told police the defendant held her down on the couch and put his hands down her pants Deputy District Attorney David Williams III told the court.

Williams argued for no bail by describing the woman's side of the story - claiming the defendant pulled her into the bedroom, removed his pants, straddled her and allegedly raped her.

However, in the victim's police statement she said she willingly went to the bedroom and she didn’t mention the attack to her sister according to defense attorney Jan Ronis.

Before leaving, Banks collected the things he had brought prosecutors said.

When the victim later texted Banks, he wrote back “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I couldn’t find your place and I was never there” prosecutors said in court.

However officials used cellular evidence to place Banks there at the time of the rape, prosecutors said.

A second woman has identified Banks as a suspect in a May 2009 attack. She told officials she met Banks under another name through Match.com.

The woman was unable to recall what happened during their dinner date. When she regained consciousness, she told police she was back at home, slumped over the edge of her couch.

She claimed the defendant was having sex with her and she told him to stop Williams told the court.

When she texted the defendant afterwards, she claims he told her to call his attorney.

Since charges were first filed on Feb. 13, more alleged victims have come forward La Mesa  police Lt. Matt Nicholass told NBC 7 San Diego.

“We are reviewing any information that comes to the La Mesa Police Dept. and determining whether or not their particular situation is related to this case or not,” Nicholass said.

Banks served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and was enrolled at Pepperdine University as a graduate student.

His parents, Dwight and Cheryl Banks, live in San Diego and attended the pre-trial hearing in El Cajon Wednesday.

“We love our son very much and we're extremely confident that once the facts are presented, he will be exonerated,” Cheryl Banks said.

Prosecutors said Banks used a number of aliases when posting to dating websites like ChristianMingle.com , POF.com and Match.com. They include Rarity, Rylan, Rylan Butterwood and Rylan Harbough.

Because Banks traveled around the U.S., investigators believe he may have been involved with women outside San Diego and outside California.

He is also accused of trying to dissuade another woman from coming forward to police.

Late last week, Victoria Kinney, Miss Irvine-Orangewood in the 2012 Miss California pageant, said she met Banks through the ChristianMingle website. She claims he threatened her not to share her story with police.

The DA will review Kinney's claim and decide whether to charge Banks in connection with her allegations, Lt. Nicholass said.

Based on the charges currently filed - rape by a foreign object by force, rape of an intoxicated person, burglary and trying to dissuade a witness – Banks faces a maximum penalty of 44 years in prison.

Banks next court hearing is scheduled for March 15. Until then, he'll remain in jail unless he can post the $1 million bail

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