SPOKANE, Wash. - More women are coming forward, five since they beginning of the year, saying they've been a victim to an alleged online predator.
According to court documents multiple victims say 24-year-old Michael McNearney contacts women online, begins a relationship with them and then steals their money. Allegedly he's had a history since 2010 involving at least a dozen women that include charges such as indecent liberties, theft, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault and second-degree assault.
On Tuesday he was in a Spokane courtroom facing another charge: Second-degree rape.
In March a woman came forward after seeing McNearny's photo on the news. She filed a report back in June of 2012 but didn't know who the suspect was other than his name was Mike. According to court documents she met him on a dating website and agreed to meet at a Spokane bar. She told police McNearney took her back to his home in north Spokane and raped her.
He was arrested at the end of February for indecent liberties, theft, unlawful imprisonment and fourth degree assault. Two of the three victims told police that he stole money from them. Allegedly he had both victims open credit card accounts and then went on a spending spree. One of those victims also told police he assaulted her while another victim was a waitress and was allegedly groped by McNearney while at work.
When he was arrested earlier this year he maintained his innocence in a jailhouse interview with KXLY.
"Domestic violence ... I have never laid my hands on a woman in my life," he said.
So, how can women avoid interactions like the ones they claim to have had with McNearney? Sarah Foley with the YWCA Domestic Violence Program says there are red flags.
"Anytime somebody is pushing your boundaries, showing jealously really quickly, wanting to move really quickly in a relationship and i think that's really true with online dating," Foley said.
She suggests if you are going to meet up with someone, do it in a public place, don't give out too much information, let others know where you are and the best thing you can do is trust your gut.
"Trust yourself and go very, very slowly," Foley added.
McNearney, who is being held on $75,000 bond, will be back in court on June 3 for his arraignment on the second-degree rape charge.
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