COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – The FBI is asking for the public’s help in encouraging hundreds of victims to come forward in an international sextortion case that sent a Florida man to jail for more than 100 years.
The FBI Columbia Field Office reports Lucas Michael Chansler, 31, formerly of St. Johns, FL, victimized hundreds of children in an extortion scheme to produce child pornography. In August 2014, Chansler pleaded guilty to nine counts of producing child pornography, resulting in a 105 year federal prison sentence.
According to court documents, from 2007 and continuing through January 2010, Chansler threatened hundreds of girls online. Chansler’s scheme began when he pretended to be a friend, acquaintance, or admirer of the victims on various social networking websites.
After gaining his victim’s trust, Chansler would invite her to engage 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.
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.
During an interview, Chansler stated that he used social networking sites to meet girls who ranged in age from 13 to 18. He stated that he targeted underage girls because adult women were “too smart” to fall for his scheme.
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.
According to court testimony, Chansler targeted 350 child victims using multiple personas and dozens of fake screen names—such as “HELLOthere” and “goodlookingguy313”—to dupe girls 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.
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).