Crime

FBI seeks help to find victims of ‘sextortion’

Lucas Michael Chansler
Lucas Michael Chansler FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking the public for help identifying victims of a convicted online predator who threatened hundreds of girls in 26 states.

Lucas Michael Chansler, 31, pleaded guilty to nine counts of producing child pornography last August, the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. According to the statement, 109 victims of the 350 minors who were targeted have been positively identified.

Most of his victims were concentrated along the east coast and parts of the Midwest, with some also in three Canadian provinces and the United Kingdom.

Chansler, of Florida, used a known 135 screen names on sites like MySpace and AIM over a four-year time span to coerce minors into exposing themselves and engaging in sexually explicit conduct in photographs and on video, the FBI said.

He was sentenced to 105 years in federal prison for child pornography.

The FBI said Chansler told authorities that he targeted girls between 13 and 18 because older women were “too smart” for his tricks.

He threatened to distribute the images and videos online, or send them to family and friends, the FBI said. Chansler was found with around 80,000 images and videos in his possession after a federal search warrant was executed in 2010, the FBI said.

Assistant FBI Director Joseph Campbell said in the statement that sextortion is a growing threat, and children anywhere can be targeted.

The FBI defines sextortion as “a criminal act that occurs when someone demands something of value, typically images of a sexual nature, sexual favors or money, from a person.”

Parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s computer and phone usage, communicate the dangers of risky behavior online and use basic technology security measures to prevent their children from being hacked, the FBI said.

They said children should turn off their computer and cover web cams when they’re not in use.

Approximately three-quarters of sextortion victims are female. The average victim is 15-years-old, but female victims range in age from 7 to 17, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“The devastating impact of these crimes on the victims, their families and friends cannot be ignored,” Campbell said in the statement. “The FBI is committed to using our resources and leveraging law enforcement partnerships around the world to identify and arrest these criminals.”

Fowler: 704-358-5294

To relay information regarding the victims of Lucas Michael Chansler, or if you believe to have been victimized by him, you can send a confidential email to FBI.VICTIMASSISTANCE@IC.FBI.GOV, contact your local FBI field office or call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) toll free.

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