A 38-year-old woman from Englewood, Tennessee, swapped vape pens for sexual favors with nine underaged boys at a local high school, police said this week, noting that more victims may soon come forward.
What are the details?
Melissa Blair was charged on Tuesday with 18 counts of aggravated statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by patronizing prostitution, and one count of solicitation of a minor, WTVC-TV reported.
Blair — who is reportedly a booster club mom and parent of a former student at McMinn County Central High School, where her alleged victims attend — solicited the boys, all of whom are aged 14 to 17, on social media platforms, police said.
"It appears that Ms. Blair was communicating with the juveniles on social media, arranging meetings with them, and trading items for sexual encounters with them," McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said in a press release.
Citing a parent of one of the alleged victims who wished to remain anonymous, WTVC reported that vape pens were among the items that Blair offered her victims.
The incidents, which were brought before a grand jury last week, allegedly occurred between spring 2020 and winter 2021.
According to the Daily Athenian, the investigation into Blair began Dec. 9, 2021, after the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services informed the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office that it had received a tip about Blair having sexual encounters with male minors.
Guy said that over the next couple of months, that number grew larger as more parents and victims contacted authorities.
Following her indictment, Blair turned herself in to the police. She was originally held on a $100,000 bond but was released Tuesday night after posting the required amount.
In a press release, Sheriff Guy encouraged more potential victims to come forward.
"The current charges are related to nine confirmed male juvenile victims, related to incidents which occurred from Spring of 2020 through late 2021," the sheriff said. "Seven of the victims are still juveniles. Two were victimized as juveniles but are now adults. We suspect there may be additional juvenile victims and we encourage them or their parents to contact us."
"There may possibly be other victims who are now adults, and we also encourage them to contact us," he added.
One of the victims' mothers told WTVC, "We are devastated at this point. I cannot in words describe what it feels like to be going through what we’re going through right now. It is every emotion that you can imagine. And none of them happy."
She went on to lament that "people focus mostly on the perpetrator [and] they don’t realize how it devastates a family. How the families are at home, and we don’t know what to do next. I have no idea how to go forward with this."
Melissa Blair indicted on 18 child rape charges; Sheriff says there are more victims www.youtube.com