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UTC Makes Top 40 of "Sugar Daddy" - seeking schools?
When Daddy can't cover tuition, a growing number of college coeds apparently are seeking the aid of wealthy older men, according to an online dating service that specializes in helping sugar babies meet sugar daddies.
On Monday, SeekingArrangement.com released its list of the 20 fastest growing "sugar baby" schools, starting with Georgia State University, which had 292 sign-ups in 2012.
While no Tennessee schools are in the Top 20, the University of Memphis (No. 28) had 76 sign-ups, a 117 percent increase; followed by University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (No. 33) with 150 percent growth, and UT-Knoxville (No. 50) with an 87 percent increase.
"The average sugar daddy on our website is between 35 and 45 years old. He gives about $3,000 a month to his sugar baby," said spokesman Leroy Velasquez. "Both are engaging in a mutually beneficial relationship."
No Tennessee sugar babies responded to his internal "casting call" to speak to media, but website visitors can see screen after screen of profiles of men and women, including a 19-year-old California woman whose profile is titled: "Treat me like an angel & I'll take you to heaven."
"This is a sophisticating of the criminal misbehavior that goes on in our neighborhoods already," said Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women's Council. "It makes minor and vulnerable females easy prey with men who take advantage of their inability to take care of themselves."
She suggests men who want to help young women get through college would not look for ways to help by Googling "sugar daddy."
"I cringe at the idea that young women will put themselves at risk supposedly to get money for books and tuition."
U of M student Jeanne Marie Cummings can't imagine it either. "Honestly, I think it's kinda gross. I can't imagine me or any of my friends going to that site for any reason at all. I think it's weird. I've never heard of it, and I don't think any of my friends have."
Sugar babies, according to Velasquez, range in age from 18-56. By far the biggest demographic (44 percent) are college-age women, ages 18-27. They outnumber sugar daddies 12:1.
Each sugar daddy is required to post his income and net worth in his online profile. "Instead of net worth and income, the sugar baby lists how much she is seeking. She can state certain amounts or she can say it is negotiable," Velasquez said.
"There is a range of activity on the website. Some women have one sugar daddy they focus on in a more monogamous relationship. Others may engage in casual encounters. Or their sugar daddy may be located in another state or country, and they may meet once every couple of months for vacations. Or if a man has a business meeting in a certain city, they may attend fundraisers or other events together."
The average sugar daddy makes $250,000 a year, but incomes range from $50,000 to more than $10 million, he Velasquez said. The daddies who get the most hits pay $180 a month for a Diamond membership, which gives them top billing and certifies their income and occupation.
The average relationship, he says, lasts six to nine months.
"We only offer this incentive to college students," said Velasquez, admitting that he hears frequent allegations that the Las Vegas-based site is a thinly veiled escort service.
Tom Henderson, Shelby County assistant district attorney, says prosecution requires proof beyond reasonable doubt that sex is required for payment.
"Based on looking at their website, we can't prove a crime is being committed, but that doesn't mean they are not being investigated or should be. This comes under the heading of bizarre."
(Commercial Appeal / Memphis)
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