SPRING LAKE, NC - The Spring Lake Police Department is issuing a crime alert for online daters. One woman is recovering Monday night after police said a Fayetteville man she met on Craigslist attacked her in her home.
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An online conversation sparked enough curiosity between the 43-year-old victim and 37-year-old Robert Matthew Allen Jr. The pair agreed to meet for the first time Sunday night at the victim's home.
She told police that at some point, Allen struck her in the back of the head and she lost consciousness. She was then sexually assaulted, she said.
Spring Lake police have acknowledged that online dating has become more common. They're urging the public to take extra precautions before meeting someone for the first time.
"If you want to go out on a date with someone you met on a dating site, it's probably better to meet in a public place," said Spring Lake Police Chief Troy McDuffie.
The victim ran to a neighbor's home. Officers said the physical injuries on her face and head were very visible, but experts warn about mental damage as well.
"You're not just dealing with the trauma in the present, but you're dealing with the things that led to behaviors and attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of how they go there in the place to begin with," said licensed marriage and family therapist Christopher Floro.
The victim was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for treatment.
Allen, of the 600 block of Tanglewood Drive in Fayetteville, is being held at the Cumberland county jail and is charged with first-degree kidnapping and forcible rape.
He is being held under a $150,000 secured bond.
Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to call Spring Lake detectives at (910) 436-7167