Trump Dating site featured man with child sex conviction

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A man previously featured on the home page of a dating site geared toward supporters of President Trump has a 1995 child sex conviction on his record, a report by WRAL found this weekend.

Barrett Riddleberger was convicted of indecent liberties with a minor in 1995, after videotaping himself having sex with a 15-year-old when he was 25. The Greensboro News & Record first reported the conviction in 2014. According to Raleigh, North Carolina NBC-affiliate WRAL, Riddleberger has no serious charges on his record since then.

Riddleberger and his wife Jodi, the co-founder of a Tea Party-inspired PAC called Conservatives for Guilford County, were featured on the Trump.Dating homepage when it launched earlier in February. The smiling couple, wearing “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, have since been replaced.

Screenshots from the Trump.dating website; Barrett and Jodi Riddleberger are seen on the left.

When confronted about the child sex conviction over the weekend, Riddleberger told WRAL that he had “already paid [his] debt for something [he] did 25 years ago,” although the Associated Press later reported that he had never served prison time for that conviction.

Trump.dating charges users $24.99 a month to maintain a membership; language previously featured on the site included phrases like “deport liberals from your love life” and “find the America First partner of your dreams,” according to Newsmax. It previously allowed new users to identify themselves as either “happily married” or “unhappily married” when establishing a new profile. Users are only given two options when identifying themselves: “straight man” or “straight woman.”

In a text message to WRAL reporters this weekend, Barrett Riddleberger said the marital status language was a “mistake” and was being corrected “by a programmer.”

Trump.dating’s founder, Sean McGrossier, who was only identified in a press release published by The Daily Caller on February 5, has not addressed the controversy, and efforts to track him down were unsuccessful.

Republicans have spent the better part of the past few months wrestling with allegations of child molestation against various figures, including Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. Moore has been accused of sexual predation by at least nine women, the youngest of whom was 14 when she claims Moore initiated sexual contact with her. Despite the accusations, the Republican National Committee at the time refused to withdraw its support from Moore’s Senate bid, funneling two contributions totaling $170,000 to the Alabama Republican Party on December 5, days before the special election. Moore eventually lost to now-Sen. Doug Jones (AL), a Democrat.

On Monday, the Providence Journal reported that Rhode Island state Sen. Nicholas Kettle, the senate minority whip, had been charged with extorting sex from a teenaged State House page in 2011. According to a newly unsealed grand jury indictment, Kettle allegedly threatened to injure the page or damage his reputation if he didn’t comply.

Trump himself has been accused of several instances of marital infidelity and sexual predation by multiple women, all charges which he has denied.



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Author: Melanie Schmitz

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