Online 'Cassanova' Accused of Beating and Terrorizing Woman He Met on Social Networking Site

On the Internet, the Chicago Heights man described himself as “compassionate, understanding, open minded and tender loving." Now he faces several felony charges.

A six-month online courtship ended with two days of torment and terror for an Illinois woman, according to police, when her "Cassanova" from Chicago Heights turned abusive, held her captive and threatened to kill her and her family.

A 39-year-old woman from downstate Kenney told Cook County Sheriff's police she met Robert McMath, 46, on a social networking site and, after corresponding for six months, agreed to meet him near the Chicago Heights Police Department on March 25.

The sheriff's office described what happened after the two met in a press release:

The two spent time together at his home, and socialized for the next two days. According to the victim, McMath, who has the name “Cassanova” tattooed on his arm, drank continuously during this period, and eventually became belligerent on Monday, when she informed him she was going back home.  At some point thereafter,  McMath assaulted the victim, and forced her to drive to a relative’s Ford Heights home, where he refused to let her leave. During this time, McMath choked the victim, pulled her hair and kicked her while she was on the floor.  He also took her cell phone and threatened her life, and the lives of her children.

The report goes on to say McMath "held and battered" the victim in Ford Heights for two days before she decided to befriend him and gain his trust. On March 30, the woman was able to get her car keys back and drove to the Chicago Heights Police Department, according to the sheriff's office.

McMath, of the 200 block of East 14th Street, turned himself in on April 4. He was arrested and charged with aggravated domestic battery, unlawful restraint, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence and assault, according to the sheriff's office.

Bail was set at $500,000, and he is scheduled to return to the Markham Courthouse April 26.

The press release included a warning about social networking sites:

Sheriff Dart reminds those using social networking sites to use extreme caution with personal interactions, as people often misrepresent themselves online and there is no way to confirm their identity. Adults who decide to meet someone from the Internet should always inform others of their whereabouts, and leave details and information about the individual, including name, a photo and address.

ERICKA June 02, 2011 at 03:43 AM


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