Sunday, March 3, 2013
New charges involving two different alleged victims were filed against a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met through ChristianMingle.com.
Sean Patrick Banks, 37, a former Navy sailor of Del Mar, Calif., was arraigned Friday on new charges, stemming from an alleged rape of an intoxicated person in 2009, as well as a separate incident in which he allegedly attempted to dissuade a witness from talking to police.
Banks was arrested on Feb. 11 and charged with rape by a foreign object, residential burglary, and forcible rape stemming from an encounter with a woman he met through ChristianMingle.com in November 2012.
Authorities said Banks used a fake name on ChristianMingle.com to contact a woman he allegedly raped in November. Banks is also suspected of using additional aliases, such as "Rylan Butterwood" and "Rylan Harbough," to contact women on the site.
"These charges are very defensible from our point of view," Banks' attorney, Gretchen von Helms, told ABCNews.com. "We believe the facts will speak for themselves and they will exonerate him.
"These charges are from two different people," von Helms said. "One alleging [she and Banks] had drinks together and she had sexual encounters that she said were not consented by her.
"It's rape by intoxication," she said. "It's in a date rape setting of having a consensual date versus a snatch and grab."
Von Helms said she did not know if the alleged victim met Banks on ChristianMingle.com.
With respect to dissuading a witness, von Helms said those allegations were made by Victoria Kinney, a contestant in the Miss California 2012 paegant who met Banks through ChristianMingle.com.
"She's never had any physical contact with Mr. Banks," von Helms said. "She had a talking and texting relationship only."
Von Helms said Kinney alleged she may have been Banks' next victim, "although she has never said what the words were that caused her to react in such a manner."
Kinney's attorney, Daniel Gilleon, said that while his client had never met Banks, the two had communicated online through ChristianMingle.com and had plans to go out to dinner. But before they could, Banks told her he had been arrested in connection with a sexual assault.
Gilleon said Banks told Kinney not to speak to police if they contacted her, but if she did, "she was required to first tell him," he said.
Gilleon said his client is not seeking damages, and that Kinney, a devout Christian, just wanted to encourage other women who may have been victimized by Banks to come forward.
"She really feels that she has some level of duty to make a statement that would encourage other women to come forward," he said.
At his arraignment on the new charges Friday in San Diego Superior Court, Banks was ordered taken back into custody and held without bail.
Von Helms said she and her co-counsel Jan Ronis had not been provided "the actual verbiage in order to be able to dispute or contest" the new charges made against Banks.
"We said we have people's opinions. 'I feel scared, I feel dissuaded,'" she said. "We don't have the words that made [Kinney] feel this way."
A felony bail review is scheduled for March 6, and a preliminary hearing will follow on March 26.
Banks faces 44 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges.
Requests made by ABC News to San Diego Deputy District Attorney David Williams III for comment were not immediately returned.