SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The FBI is asking for the public’s help in encouraging hundreds of victims, some here in the Bay Area, to come forward in an international sextortion case that sent a Florida man to jail for more than 100 years.
31-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler pled guilty in August 2014 to multiple counts of child pornography production and was sent to prison for 105 years but not before he used the Internet to victimize nearly 350 teenage girls, including an unknown number of them in San Jose and Oakalnd.
According to court documents, from 2007 and continuing through January 2010, Chansler targeted 350 girls online from 26 different states throughout the United States, three Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom. Officials have positively identified 109 of the children Chansler targeted, and are actively working to identify the remaining victims.
Chansler’s scheme began when he pretended to be a friend, acquaintance, or admirer of the victims on various social networking websites using multiple personas and dozens of fake screen names—such as “HELLOthere” and “goodlookingguy313.” Authorities say he would then engage his female victim in a live video chat and later would ask her to expose herself.
Unbeknownst to the child, he was recording the video session. Chansler often enticed his victims to expose themselves by showing a streaming video of a minor male exposing himself or engaging in sexual acts. When the young girls did expose themselves, Chansler would send the photo or video to the victim and threaten her by saying he would send the images to her family and friends if she did not send more graphic images or webcam videos.
When FBI agents interviewed Chansler after his arrest, they asked why he selected that age group. “One of the comments he made,” Meyer said, “was that older girls wouldn’t fall for his ploy.”
“It went from what would be relatively benign pictures to fulfilling Chansler’s perverted desires,” Special Agent Larry Meyer said, adding that while adults know that a young person’s life is only beginning in high school, “to a 13- or 14-year-old girl, thinking that all her friends or her parents might see a picture of her exposing her breasts, the fear was enough to make them comply with Chansler’s demands, believing they had no better options.”
Using information received from the parents of one victim and working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, agents were able to identify Chansler as the sexual predator suspect and locate his home. A federal search warrant was executed at the residence on January 8, 2010.
Computers taken from Chansler’s home showed hundreds of folders labeled with the name of each child victim containing personal information about the victim, related chat logs and videos or photos. Many of the saved chat logs contained the threats made by Chansler, and a number of the videos revealed the victims crying and pleading with Chansler. The FBI reports Chansler has approximately 80,000 images and videos in his possession. The majority of those young victims have not yet been identified.
If you have information that may help identify victims of Lucas Michael Chansler or believe you may have been victimized by him, the FBI offers an online questionnaire at http://www.fbi.gov/sextortion, or you can submit a confidential e-mail to FBIVICTIMASSISTANCE@IC.FBI.GOV. You can also contact the FBI Columbia Field Office at 803-551-4200 or call toll-free at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
WBTW contributed to this report