28 March 2024

'Gross, creepy': alleged Tinder 'catfish' accused of indecently assaulting second woman

| Albert McKnight
Coat of Arms on court building

Robelt Harthur Hilarion Urdanivia, 28, has been refused bail for the second time by the ACT Magistrates Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to alleged indecent assaults.

A second woman has come forward to claim an alleged Tinder ‘catfish’ deceived then indecently assaulted her after learning from media reports that he had been arrested for similar allegations against a different person.

Robelt Harthur Hilarion Urdanivia, a 28-year-old Peruvian man working in construction while in Australia, was refused bail last month over the initial allegations.

‘Catfishing’ refers to using a fake online profile to mislead someone.

Mr Hilarion Urdanivia allegedly used a fake profile on the dating app Tinder to meet up with the first woman for sex at a home in Pearce on 10 February 2024, but when she arrived, she saw he did not look like the person in the account’s photos and tried to leave.

He allegedly repeatedly indecently assaulted her before she was able to push him away and fled.

On Thursday (28 March), the ACT Magistrates Court heard he would indicate a guilty plea to a charge of committing an act of indecency without consent over this incident.

But Mr Hilarion Urdanivia was also handed a new charge over an alleged incident from eight days earlier.

Court documents claim he had begun talking to a different woman on Tinder after allegedly using a fake name and photos of “an unknown male obtained from the internet” that were not consistent with his physical appearance.

The photos were of a Caucasian male with tanned skin and an athletic build.

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The woman eventually agreed to meet up for sex at an address he allegedly proposed in Mawson on 1 February 2024. She reportedly arrived to find all the lights off, and he met her while partially obscured by the front door.

While the woman found it hard to see inside as it was dark, she allegedly saw he had a different outline to the man in the photos. The documents say Mr Hilarion Urdanivia is “of a round figure and had a chubby face”.

It is alleged she repeatedly told him, “I don’t want this”, and pushed him away, but he ignored her and repeatedly indecently assaulted her before she was able to flee the house.

He allegedly called her shortly afterwards and tried to get her to return, but she told him: “You lied, you are fat and look like you are a 40-year-old man”.

“You lied and it made me feel scared,” she also texted him in a response to his messages.

A few weeks later, she learned about the first woman’s allegations against Mr Hilarion Urdanivia due to the initial reporting by Region and thought it sounded very similar to her alleged experience. She then went to police.

Mr Hilarion Urdanivia was handed a second charge of committing an act of indecency without consent over this alleged incident before he applied for bail again on Thursday.

His lawyer, Giordano Borzuola of Legal Aid, said his client would indicate a guilty plea to the 10 February 2024 incident. However, he disagreed with some of the allegations and said the matter may need to go to a disputed facts hearing.

He also said the allegations were “creepy, they’re gross, are frankly an example of why many women in this community don’t feel safe”.

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But he proposed that bail be granted on strict conditions, including that his client surrender his passport, not use dating apps, and live with his sister in Sydney.

The prosecutor, who opposed bail, said Mr Hilarion Urdanivia had admitted dishonesty, being that he regularly used fake dating app profiles in an attempt to have sex with women.

Magistrate Jane Campbell said the allegations concerned her due to the “premeditated, calculating way in which Mr Urdanivia has engaged in this behaviour” and described it as “very clandestine” on two occasions.

She said he had also told police he’d been banned from using Tinder in Peru, which suggested he may have been committing similar alleged conduct in his home country.

Bail was refused for the second time and the matter was adjourned to 18 April. No plea was entered to the fresh charge.

If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line, can be contacted on 1800 737 732. Help and support are also available through the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 02 6247 2525, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT 02 6280 0900, and Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call Triple Zero.

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