DeKALB, Ill. (CBS) — Is it prostitution, or just two people developing a relationship beneficial to both?
Some websites help so-called “sugar daddies” hook up with “sugar babies.” Now a New Jersey man faces charges after cops say they caught him on his way to a rendezvous with a 17-year-old girl.
CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman spoke with the young woman, who asked not to be identified. She disputes the use of the term prostitution.
“They are like mentors,” she says of the men she has met. “I learned so much. I traveled so much. I really got great experiences from them.”
CBS 2 asked if sex was involved in the encounters.
“There is sex involved,” she said.
And the young woman says there’s payment – in her case, about $6,000 or $7,000 per month.
She finds her “sugar daddies” on SeekingArrangement.com. Earlier this year, when she was still 17, she says she met Nicholas Cereste. According to prosecutors, the 47 year-old took a cab from Chicago to Northern Illinois University, where the teenage freshman was waiting for him.
The alleged plan was to take a cab all the way back to a Chicago hotel, but police found the pair first.
“This is sex for money — it’s prostitution via the Internet,” DeKalb State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said Friday. “There’s no question about it.”
Now Cereste, who was in custody and bonded out Friday, faces two felony counts.
“I’m not too upset about it because I didn’t really know him,” the young woman told Hartman.
She says they were at the beginning of their arrangement and she lied about her age.
“Clearly we have a problem when we have a 17 year-old on a website selling sexual services to businessmen,” Campbell, the prosecutor, said.
The CEO of the Website that allegedly helped Cereste to find the teen defended “sugar-daddy” dating.
“We’re extremely clear that our website is really for people to form mutually beneficial relationships,” Brandon Wade told Hartman.
The state’s attorney says it’s not just about alleged prostitution. He said he worries that a young girl will go on a cab ride and never return.