Businessman accused of raping teen he met on ‘sugar daddy‘ website

A Memphis businessman is accused of raping a 17-year-old he met on a dating website that describes itself as the "leading Sugar Daddy dating site."

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The teenager told investigators she met Mark Giannini on the dating website “Seeking Arrangement,” and that they were involved in a “consensual sexual relationship” for several months, but eventually she said she felt threatened.

Giannini was arrested Friday morning, and charged with statutory rape. The 52-year-old is also charged in two additional pending rape cases.

"Seeking Arrangement" has 10 million active members, including eight million "Sugar Babies," and two million "Sugar Daddies and Mommas."

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The dating website says, "Sugar Babies enjoy a life of luxury by being pampered with fine dinners, exotic trips and allowances. In turn, Sugar Daddies or Mommas find beautiful members to accompany them at all times."

With her mother by her side this week, the 17-year-old told deputies she was "in fear for her and her family's safety."

Deputies at the Shelby County Sheriff's office said they received a tip from an anonymous caller who informed them about the relationship between Giannini and the minor, which led them to the victim.

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The teenager told deputies she and Giannini “had sex on multiple occasions” and “she and Giannini exchanged sexually explicit photos on multiple occasions,” according to court records.

The 17-year-old and her mother gave Shelby County deputies permission to search her iPad and Apple iPhone for evidence of Giannini's alleged behavior.

In April 2017, the 52-year-old was found not guilty on all charges related in a fourth rape case that stemmed from an incident in his home in 2014.

In September 2017, Giannini pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but he got credit for two years for time already served.

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Giannini has his first hearing in Friday's most recent case Monday, April 16.