Birmingham PD: Rape suspect may have met 2 victims online - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Birmingham PD: Rape suspect may have met 2 victims online

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Birmingham police have charged a man with rape and robbery after allegedly assaulting two women he met online.

Jonathan Rogers, 22, allegedly assaulted the women at gunpoint in his home earlier this month.

Police say the women talked with Rogers online before agreeing to come to his house.

Law enforcement from across our area tell us these cases are rare, but because they can happen they want to make sure people are doing what they can to protect themselves.

"You've just got to really think, use your head, and stay safe," said Detective Michael Mangina with Irondale Police.

Residents we spoke to had mixed review of online dating.

"I think it's safe as long as you can to know the person," said Birmingham resident Clifton Smith.

"It's a modern way of dating. "It can be very dangerous," Fredrick Moore said.

But a lot of people are drawn to it.

"A lot of my co-workers who are younger use online dating. They've met some good guys and bad guys," Mallory Colley said.

 

Mangina thinks online dating is dangerous, but he said people can keep themselves safe while making new connections.

"If you're going to meet the person make sure you do it in a public place, at a decent time of day. Make sure you tell a family member or friend where you're going and what time you will be home. Stay sober if you're going to meet someone like this," said Mangina.

He also said to always drive yourself to the date.

As for members of the public, they too have advice for those searching for love.

"I feel like if you're going to go meet a guy on a date, then you definitely need to have backup," said Colley.

"The best thing to do is ask them if they have a web cam and if you can watch them on video, and see if it's the real person," said Smith.

Mangina says another thing to do is ask good questions, research the person chatting with, and make sure what they are telling you is true.

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