June 16, 2021

Contact: julia.ofman@berlinrosen.com

Lawsuit Alleges “Rape by Fraud” as The Perpetrator Lied About His Marital Status in His Dating Online Profile

Victim Alleges Being Drugged, Raped and Exposed to a Sexually Transmitted Disease

FLAGLER COUNTY - A lawsuit was filed today against Flagler County resident Dr. Gerard Abate, alleging in detail a shocking drugging and sexual assault of a woman who he lured into his home after meeting her on an online dating website. Abate is accused of rape and sexual assault by deception and fraud by lying about his marital status, thereby tricking his victim into thinking that he was committed to a long-term, serious relationship. Dr. Abate allegedly drugged the Plaintiff so she would be unable to protect herself. 

The Complaint also alleges that Dr. Abate exposed the Plaintiff to a sexually transmitted disease. As a result, the survivor has suffered serious emotional and health consequences.

“We intend to offer proofs in this litigation that Dr. Abate violated my client first through deception and then through an egregious act of sexual violence, resulting in her becoming severely traumatized and impaired.  We are also prepared to offer proofs of the serious financial, emotional and mental health toll on a woman who was deliberately lied to for Dr. Abate’s selfish purposes,” said Michael Dolce, partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which represents the survivor. “This case should also serve as a warning to anyone engaging in online dating to be alert to bad actors who seek to deceive others for selfish reasons, disregarding the harm that results.”

The Plaintiff’s dating profile was explicit that she was seeking a serious, long-term relationship and one into which she would move slowly. Shortly after meeting on the dating website, the two began messaging using their personal email accounts. During those communications, Dr. Abate represented that he was single, when in fact he was actually married and had been so for many years, living primarily at the time in another state, while using his Flagler County beachfront condominium for his nefarious purposes.  Dr. Abate engaged in ongoing communications to perpetuate the false impression that he was similarly interested in a committed relationship as that the Plaintiff desired. It was these deception and fraudulent representations about his own life that caused them to meet in the first place. Had the survivor known the truth, she would never have never even initiated a conversation.

The lawsuit details that throughout messages exchanged following the assault, the Plaintiff learned her attacker was married and that others had complained of Abate misrepresenting himself as single on dating websites. The assault has inflicted lasting emotional damage on the survivor, and as a result of the trauma she lost income due to reduced ability to work.  The Complaint alleges that when the Plaintiff confronted Dr. Abate about the financial impact on her from his actions, he made multiple payments of thousands of dollars to her. When the Plaintiff demanded that he submit to STD testing and provide the results to her, which he complied with, revealing that he tested positive, he ceased all communication and financial assistance.

About Cohen Milstein

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is a national leader in plaintiff-side personal injury and class action litigation, including maintaining a full-time litigation team devoted exclusively to representing sex crime survivors.  As one of the premier law firms in the country handling major complex lawsuits, Cohen Milstein, with more than 90 attorneys, has offices in Washington, DC; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Palm Beach Gardens, FL; and Raleigh, NC. For more information about the firm, please visit https://www.cohenmilstein.com or call (561) 515-1400.