Lucas Michael Chansler, 31, of St. Johns, Florida, pleaded guilty last August to nine counts of producing child pornography and was sentenced to 105 years behind bars. But as bad as the crimes to which he admitted were, the vast extent of his scheme was far worse and involved hundreds of teen girls who, federal investigators say, were duped and blackmailed by Chansler into performing sexual acts on the internet — acts which Chansler secretly recorded and stored on his home computer.
While police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have identified 109 of the underage girls victimized by Chansler, who kept meticulously organized files on his computer for the thousands of sexual videos he forced and tricked his teen victims into making, they say that there appear to be 350 victims in total — and they need help identifying the remainder.
The FBI found two hard drives belonging to Chansler containing about 80,000 images of minors involved in sexual acts. The underage girls victimized by the online perv came from 26 states, three different provinces in Canada — with some victims as far away as the United Kingdom.
"If it hits close to home, maybe they will understand. High school girls never think it will happen to them," said one of Chansler's victims, Ashley Reynolds, who has now gone public to encourage other victims to come forward. "I never thought this would happen to me, but it did."
Reynolds, now 20-years-old, was ensnared in Chansler's scheme in 2009, when she was just 14.
The way he victimized her was, the FBI says, typical of the method he used on hundreds of other teens from 2007 to 2010, employing hundreds of fake screen names and phony profiles, mostly on the formerly popular social media site MySpace.
Chansler would contact young girls online pretending to be one of a number of personas, almost all 15-year-old boys who were good-looking and into skateboards. After chatting with the girls, the conversations would become sexual, with Chansler, through his bogus persona, encouraging the girls to expose their breasts or genitals.
The FBI cited one case in which four teen girls having a sleepover all exposed their breasts to Chansler, believing he was a cute teen boy they would never see or hear from again. In fact, Chansler was an adult student studying to become a pharmacist, and was secretly recording the girls and saving the images.
In other cases, if girls were reluctant to expose themselves, he would encourage them by showing a video of a young boy masturbating, duping the girls into believing they were watching a live image of the supposed teen boy on the other end of the online chat.
Once he obtained the initial nude or partially nude images — by using screen capture software, unknown to his victims who did not realize they were being recorded — Chansler would then contact the girls again under a new persona, threatening to post their sexual images on the internet and send them to their friends.
While some of the victims called his bluff, hundreds panicked and continued to comply with Chansler's demands for increasingly explicit poses and sexual activities, which he recorded for his personal use.
"It went from what would be relatively benign pictures to fulfilling Chansler's perverted desires," said FBI Special Agent Larry Meyer.It appears that Chansler also distributed at least some of the images. Pictures of at least 49 Chansler victims have turned up on pedophile websites, police say.
In some videos found by the FBI, victims were seen in tears, protesting that they did not want to perform the sexual acts that Chansler demanded, but when he continued with his blackmail threats, they complied.
"The damage he caused to many of his victims during his nearly four year reign of terror is incalculable,'' the FBI said in a statement.
Investigators now ask that if any member of the public knows of, or was a victim of Lucas Michael Chansler, to please contact the FBI.
[Image: Federal Bureau of Investigation]