Sep 27, 2016 6:12 PM
DURHAM — Town officials, local police, and administrators at the University of New Hampshire are working to protect young females in the Durham area from a website soliciting them for relationships with “sugar daddies.”
The fliers popped up throughout downtown Durham late last week, on bulletin boards outside local businesses. They advertise for sugardaddyforme.com, a website that connects people for such relationships.
“It’s kind of shocking that someone would put that in Durham," said Taylor Witkiewicz, a University of New Hampshire senior. "I just don’t think it’s that kind of town, and it’s just strange.”
Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said the owner of Town & Campus immediately took the poster down and notified local authorities.
“Our concern is these types of activities really serve as a portal to much more serious and negative sexual encounters,” Selig said during a phone interview on Tuesday. “We want Durham to be a place where residents feel comfortable having their kids, particularly their young daughters, in the downtown.”
The fliers seek women ages 18 to 25 to be “dinner companions” for “sophisticated gentlemen.” In exchange, the fliers offer cash, a mentor, or even travel.
The postings are not illegal in themselves, but Selig and community members were concerned such arrangements could lead to illegal activities.”
“There’s risk to this because you don’t know what the other person will be expecting, especially considering there’s money involved,” said Chris Grinley, another UNH senior.
Other female students said the fliers have no place on or around the campus.
“I feel like it’s a little disrespectful toward the college students and the residents,” said Samantha Wohlmacher, who’s also a senior at UNH. “I don’t even know why they would post it here in the first. I just think it gives us a bad representation.”
Selig said officials have been advised to remove all the fliers from public spaces, and businesses in the area have been encouraged to do the same.
“As of this weekend, my understanding is they’ve all been removed,” he said. “We think that’s positive and we just wanted to make sure that people in town knew that they had been put up.”
The town was very forthcoming about the incident, posting a copy of the flier to its website.
University administrators also said they plan to work with students to make them aware of the incident and to help anyone – without judgement – who might find themselves in a difficult situation.
“When you look at these things, who you think you’re talking to online, may not be who you really think you’re talking to,” said Dead of Students Ted Kirkpatrick. “We hope that we’re working with young people to be able to make those choices and that they’re good choices for them.”
Students were also grateful for all the local officials who have been working to protect them from potential harm.
“I want to thank them for actually caring and taking it down,” said Witkiewicz. “It’s sending the wrong message, especially with there’s so many families around.”
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