Did You Meet Stephen Matthews on a Dating App?
Stephen Matthews was first arrested in March 2023 after a woman who met Matthews on the dating app Hinge told investigators that she was drugged and sexually assaulted while unconscious. Today, after multiple women have come forward with similar stories, Matthews is charged with 51 felony counts of drugging and sexually assaulting more than a dozen women. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Burg Simpson has been following the case of Stephen Matthews in Denver very closely. Our firm represents many survivors who, after being assaulted by Matthews, are committed to ensuring this cannot happen to anyone, ever again.
As with so many cases involving sexual predators, we believe that many more women may have been drugged and raped by Stephen Matthews.
There is strength in numbers. Our firm is exploring all available legal options for the victims of Stephen Matthews. This includes filing a lawsuit against Match Group, the parent company of Hinge, Tinder, and over 45 other dating apps worldwide, which failed to remove Matthews despite receiving reports of sexual assault by survivors who met Matthews on one of their sites. It is our belief that, had Match Group removed Matthews from the apps when they became aware of his actions, he would not have been able to victimize so many women.
Survivors of sexual assault by Stephen Matthews are encouraged to call Burg Simpson at 303-792-5595 today. Any information you share will be kept in the strictest confidence, and our team will handle your case with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.
Is Stephen Matthews a Denver Cardiologist?
Stephen Matthews, M.D., is a board-certified cardiologist and specialist in internal medicine. Prior to his arrest, Dr. Matthews saw patients at several medical offices in the Denver area and had affiliations with local hospitals including Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital, and AdventHealth Avista Hospital.
Dr. Stephen Matthews renewed his license to practice medicine earlier this year. In light of the charges against him, Dr. Matthews reached a temporary agreement with the Colorado Medical Board to voluntarily stop practicing medicine. This means that, while Stephen Matthews, M.D., retains his medical license, he has agreed to stop seeing patients as a cardiologist pending the resolution of his current legal issues.
What Was Stephen Matthews Charged With?
Stephen Matthews has faced a number of charges since the initial arrest for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in March. He was first arrested on three counts:
- Sexual assault – victim helpless (class 3 felony)
- Sexual assault – no consent (class 4 felony)
- Sexual assault – victim incapable appraising condition (class 4 felony)
A further 13 counts were added after nine additional women came forward with similar accounts of being drugged and assaulted by Matthews.
The 51 charges Stephen Matthews is now facing include more than 20 counts of sexual assault, over a dozen counts of drugging female victims (classified as second-degree assault), and more. A judge ordered Matthews to stand trial on the charges, noting that there was “substantial evidence something was administered” to the women who accused Matthews of drugging and assaulting them.
NOTE: Stephen Matthews is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty. The criminal trial is set to begin March 4, 2024.
Stephen Matthews: A History of Sexual Assaults
Reports of Stephen Matthews drugging and raping women date back to 2019. Matthews would often find victims on dating websites such as Tinder, Hinge, and Match. He would then earn their trust, persuade them to meet with him, and make an excuse to get them back to his home.
Matthews would then offer the woman a drink, believed to be laced with some kind of incapacitating drug. While at Matthews’s home, a number of women report feeling disoriented, becoming violently ill, and even losing consciousness. Matthews would then sexually assault them while they were impaired or unconscious.
Several survivors later recounted finding bruises and bite marks on their bodies after their encounter with Matthews. Others do not remember the assault, or have fleeting recollections of certain details (likely as a result of being drugged).
In a recent video interview with the Law&Crime Network, attorney Stephen Burg noted that Matthews would often try to “blame [survivors] for getting too intoxicated or sow some doubt in their minds about their actions or what they did.” Matthews’s defense attorney has employed similar tactics in an effort to discredit survivors.
At Burg Simpson, we steadfastly believe the women who have bravely come forward and shared their stories of sexual assault by Stephen Matthews. In cases like these, there is strength in numbers; once one courageous survivor speaks up, many others feel empowered to take action.
“When they hear about the stories, more and more survivors have come forward and said…they wanted to put this all behind them, but now they want to make sure and stand up and provide some change so this doesn’t happen moving forward.”– Stephen Burg, Shareholder & Trial Attorney at Burg Simpson
View the entirety of Stephen Burg’s interview with the Law&Crime Network on YouTube.
The Role of Dating Apps in the Stephen Matthews Case
Match Group owns approximately two-thirds of the dating websites and apps on the internet, worldwide, today. Stephen Matthews used apps such as Tinder, Hinge, and Match (all owned by Match Group) as a hunting ground for victims.
Stephen Burg told Law&Crime Network that Match Group had received at least one report from a woman accusing Matthews of rape. And yet, the company failed to remove Matthews from the dating sites for a number of years.
Had Match Group acted appropriately and removed Stephen Matthews, we believe that multiple survivors may have been spared the anguish of sexual assault. Once the criminal proceedings against Matthews are complete, it is our intention to file a civil lawsuit against the parties responsible. Based on their explicit knowledge of the danger Matthews posed to women on the dating apps and negligence in taking reasonable action to protect the dating apps’ members, we absolutely intend to name Match Group as a defendant.
Section 230 Immunity
One challenge facing any case involving the negligence or wrongdoing of an internet platform or company in regard to user behavior is Section 230 of Title 47 of the U.S. Code. But not really.
Section 230 provides certain legal protections for internet platforms pertaining to fraud, auto-renewals, etc.; however, Section 230 does not include ANY safety protections for users, or responsibility and accountability on the part of the app/internet platform when they are informed that one of their subscribers/users is a rapist, criminal, convicted felon, or otherwise dangerous.
In the past, Match Group has argued that they are immune to liability and above the law because of Section 230. Section 230 does not preclude Match Group and other dating apps and internet platforms from responsibility to protect their subscribers/users, and actually operate in a manner that reflects the priority of users’ safety. As they purport on their platforms and within their Terms and Conditions.
Section 230 immunity is broad, but it is not unassailable. We are prepared to argue that Match Group can and should be held liable for failing to remove Matthews from their sites after receiving notice of his actions.
Seeking Justice for the Victims of Stephen Matthews
The best way to change corporate behavior is by impacting the bottom line. Change the math. We believe that the Stephen Matthews case represents an opportunity not only to pursue just compensation for the survivors of sexual assault in this case, but to bring about positive and long-overdue change overall in the way dating apps handle reports of predators who use their sites.
Our firm is in communication with Colorado legislators about changing state law to provide greater protection for the users of dating apps. Currently, dating sites operating in Colorado are only required to remove users who engage in fraud. We are advocating for new laws to require companies like Match Group to remove users who pose a threat to others.
Burg Simpson is committed to offering a safe space for the victims of Stephen Matthews. Visit us online to tell your story in confidence and learn how our team can help.
“I am continually inspired by the strength of these survivors to come forward, to take action, to try to make this a better world moving forward.”– Attorney Stephen Burg