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No hugs allowed? Madison targets pro cuddlers

December 8, 2013 • National News


In this Oct. 15, 2013 file photo, Matthew Hurtado talks about The Snuggle House in downtown Madison, Wis. Customers at Madison’s new Snuggle House can snuggle with professional cuddlers for $60 an hour. Supporters say the business helps people relax through non-sexual touch. But city officials suspect the Snuggle House may be a thinly veiled brothel and cuddling will lead to sexual assault. Hurtado’s past is raising red flags; he has filed for bankruptcy twice, written a book about a sex addict meeting a supernatural being and according to city attorneys has worked as a stripper. Hurtado (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, Amber Arnold)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s ultra-liberal capital city is a place where just about anything goes, from street parties to naked bike rides. But city officials say a business is pushing even Madison’s boundaries by offering, of all things, hugs.

For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers.

Snugglers contend touching helps relieve stress. But Madison officials suspect the business is a front for prostitution and, if it’s not, fear snuggling could lead to sexual assault. Not buying the message that the business is all warm and fuzzy, police have talked openly about conducting a sting operation at the business, and city attorneys are drafting a new ordinance to regulate snuggling.

“There’s no way that (sexual assault) will not happen,” assistant city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said. “No offense to men, but I don’t Login to read more

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