A 53-year-old man had sex with a 14-year-old girl he met on the website SeekingArrangement.com and then tried to pay her friend to watch them, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia say.
Fielding Smith Daniel of Culpeper, Va., who was arrested and charged last fall in Stafford County, was charged this week in federal court with child sex trafficking.
Seeking Arrangement advertises itself as a place for “sugar babies” to meet “sugar daddies” who are expected to shower them with gifts and financial support.
The company says that an arrangement is not about sex but “mutually beneficial relationships.”
The website also warns that “having an arrangement with a minor is considered illegal. If you suspect a member to be underage, please ask for a photo ID, or report such members to Customer Support, and we will verify their age for you.”
The 14-year-old girl claimed to be 18 on the website when she began talking to Daniel in August, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
But the girl looked like a minor, FBI agent Steven K. Hall wrote, and Daniel did not ask her age when he picked her up at her grandmother’s house.
He drove her to a motel where he had unprotected sex with her, according to the affidavit, and paid her $100.
About 10 days later, the girl said she wanted to meet again because she needed money, according to the affidavit.
Daniel is alleged to have asked whether the friend she was with, who identified herself as 14, would watch them for $300, but the friend refused.
He again had sex with the girl, according to the affidavit, and paid her $140.
She then told her grandmother she had met a man and had sex for money, according to Hall.
Her actions came to police attention because she ran away from home a day after the second meeting.
At around the same time, Daniel met another girl on Seeking Arrangement, according to Hall, and that girl told him she was 17. She said she could not get out of her house to meet but allegedly sent him pornographic images of herself.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Seeking Arrangement said the site has reached out to Hall to see whether they can be helpful to the investigation.
“Seeking Arrangement is not in the business of connecting people with children,” Alexis Germany said. “We do not allow any kind of pay-per-meet scenario as described in the affidavit, nor had we any knowledge that this was occurring.”
Daniel’s family declined to comment.