Safety tips offered after woman raped by man she met via dating app

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - What started as a first date between two people escalated into a violent rape over the weekend in Baton Rouge, according to law enforcement officials.

Deputies with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office say the female victim connected with a man on Tinder, a social media dating app.  The app allows you to meet people who may be nearby.  If you both like each other, you can them begin texting back and forth.

Casey Rayburn Hicks, the spokesperson for the sheriff's office, says the victim and Jacob Witz, 22, of Baton Rouge, agreed to meet at the victim's apartment.

"The suspect allegedly forcibly raped the victim as well as hit her repeatedly," said Hicks.

Witz was arrested Saturday.  As of Monday evening, he remained at the parish prison.

According to some very graphic arrest documents, the woman told deputies after the rape Witz made her take a bath while he watched.  The report goes on to say he also made her delete all text messages between the two and before leaving told her, "Pretend this did not happen.  Don't tell anybody, I did not rape you.  I got to get out of here."

The alleged incident happened near LSU, but it is unknown if the woman is a student.

Kathryn Saichuk with LSU's Health Promotions, says every year she speaks to incoming students and warns them to be careful when meeting anyone new.  Saichuk also works with Sexual Assault Services and teaches self-defense.

"You just don't know who's on the other end of that conversation," she said.  "Social media sites like Tinder and others allow them to make a connection to someone they don't know."

Saichuk says times have changed.  People have become more familiar with each other by phone.  In some cases, she says, people should not be so trusting.

She says it's important to remember three things:

-If you want to get to know someone, do it face-to-face in public, maybe with a group.

-Beware of the other person's behavior, like if they try to isolate you or pay you too much attention.

-Don't give out your personal information.

Saichuk says the university and the LSU Police are developing an app for the students, faculty and staff called LSU Shield.  The app will not only allow them to report crimes, but also will let students to notify friends where they will be.  The app will also alert those friends if the person doesn't get to where they were supposed to be.

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