Bail increased for man held in rape after Tinder app date _lowres

Jacob Hirsch Witz

Sheriff’s deputies on Saturday evening arrested a Baton Rouge man accused of raping a woman after having just met her through a popular social media dating application called Tinder.

The woman told a detective with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office that she met Jacob Hirsch Witz, whom she knew only as “Jake,” on Tinder, an application that matches registered users who “like” each other’s profile pictures.

They arranged to meet at her Nicholson Drive apartment, where the casual encounter turned violent early Saturday morning, according to a document detailing the probable cause for Witz’s arrest.

The woman told a detective that she and Witz talked on a couch for some time before moving the conversation to a bedroom. There, the two kissed a few times before Witz, 22, became aggressive and suddenly pulled the woman’s shorts off, the affidavit says.

The woman accused Witz of slapping her in the face, tearing her clothes and raping her as she begged him to stop, the affidavit says.

Afterward, she told a detective, Witz forced her to delete all the text messages between the two had exchanged from her cellphone. He then forced her to bathe while he watched, the affidavit says.

Finally, just before leaving, he uttered some chilling words, according to the woman’s recollection of events to the detective: “Pretend this did not happen. Don’t tell anybody. I did not rape you. I got to get out of here.”

Police located Witz about 5 p.m. Saturday at his apartment inside the Southgate Apartments on Nicholson Drive. They arrested him and booked him into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of forcible rape.

He remained there Sunday afternoon in lieu of $35,000 bail.

Witz told an investigator, according to the affidavit, that he wouldn’t speak to the authorities without an attorney present. An attempt to locate someone to speak on his behalf was unsuccessful.

Racheal Hebert, executive director of the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center in Baton Rouge, said she has not heard of any other reported sexual assaults on local dates arranged using Tinder. Hebert noted that applications such as Tinder, in which users typically judge potential matches by making a snap decision based primarily on one or a few photographs, are susceptible to abuse.

A spokeswoman with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office also said deputies were not aware of any other sexual assault investigations where Tinder was involved.

An attempt to reach Tinder representatives was unsuccessful.

Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter @_BenWallace.