On October 7, a Tampa pharmacist was arrested on the charge of sexual battery after a woman reported she was drugged on a Tinder date by the man. 27-year-old Robert Michael Woods was pointed to as the suspect, and was held at Hillsborough County Jail after his arrest.
According to the woman, whose identity has been kept undisclosed by the police, she and Woods interacted via the Tinder dating app and set up a date to meet at the District Tavern, a bar in downtown Tampa. After a drink of beer, Woods invited the woman back to his apartment under the pretense that his friends would be arriving for a late night gathering. However, when they arrived, the woman reported that no one was there.
Once they were alone in the apartment together, Woods convinced the woman by way of a drinking game to drink a glass of absinthe. After drinking the absinthe, smoking a cigarette on the apartment’s balcony and going to the bathroom, the woman blacked out; she told police she didn’t remember anything that happened in that apartment until she woke up in Woods’ bed. She was informed by Woods that they had engaged in sexual relations, and she proceeded to leave. However, she was still under the effects of substances, given she backed her vehicle into a fence and fumbled around trying to use a garage ticket machine. Because of how unwell she felt, she drove to the hospital, where she underwent a sexual assault examination.
Once she had recovered, she noticed scrapes and bruises on her body that she did not have preceding the Tinder date. She also noticed two injection points on the left side of her neck that were not there previously. She proceeded to text Woods and attempt to ask about what happened that night, but Woods simply responded, “Are you alive?” and then went silent once he ascertained that was true. Woods also deleted the woman from his Tinder and other social media accounts.
When he was arrested, Woods identified himself as a pharmacist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which the hospital later confirmed, although they did not respond to inquiries regarding his current employment status. Hospital spokeswoman Beth Hardy limited herself to say, “The allegations are deeply disturbing, and we are taking this very seriously. We are working with law enforcement.” Woods is currently being held in the county jail on $250,000 bail.
On Tinder’s official website, the app provides some tips to stay safe during initial meetings organized via the app, including always having the first date entirely in a public setting, as well as letting friends and family know how long your date is supposed to last. Tinder also advises users to recognize that alcohol and drug use can lead to danger, and specifically says that users should “be aware that bad actors might try to take advantage of you by altering your beverage with synthetic substances.”