FBI seeks Minnesota victims of convicted online child predator


The FBI is asking for help from the public to identify additional victims of a convicted online predator who targeted some 350 teenage girls and forced them to send him sexually explicit photos of themselves.

The predator, Lucas Michael Chansler, 31, formerly of St. Johns, Florida, was sentenced to 105 years in federal prison last year for engaging in an extortion scheme to produce child pornography. The FBI said in a news release it has identified 109 of his victims and is working to find the others.

The agency says at least some of Chansler's victims lived in Minnesota. He also victimized young women in 25 other states as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.

Chansler's crimes took place over a three-year period, ending when he was arrested in January 2010.

The FBI calls his actions "sextortion," which it describes as "a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money."

According to the FBI, Chansler began his online deception by passing himself off as a 15-year-old boy.

Chansler pretended to be a friend, acquaintance, or admirer of the victims on various social networking websites.

After gaining some measure of trust from a particular victim, Chansler would invite her to engage in a live video chat, and later would ask her to expose herself. Unbeknownst to the victim, 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 sexually explicit behavior.

If a victim did expose herself, he recorded it, and then demanded additional and more graphic images or webcam videos. He would inform the victim that if she did not comply, he would distribute the images and videos online, or send them to her family and friends.

The parents of one victim told authorities, and Chansler was tracked down and arrested in January 2010. He told police he targeted underage girls because adult women were “too smart” to fall for his scheme, the FBI said.

When authorities searched Chansler's property and his computer, they found 80,000 images and videos of child pornography.

The FBI hopes to find additional victims “who have not had closure and who probably haven’t obtained counseling and other help they might need,” Special Agent Larry Meyer, of Jacksonville, Florida, said in the news release.

In this video provided by the FBI, Ashley Reynolds talks about how she was victimized by Chansler in 2009 when she was 14 years old. Reynolds and her parents were the ones who came forward to report Chansler's activity.

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The FBI says Chansler used more than 135 user names and email addresses on various social media sites to conceal his identity. Here's a list of all of them.

Anyone who believes she might be a victim of Chansler can complete a confidential questionnaire on the FBI's website, or send a confidential email tofbi.victimassistance@ic.fbi.gov.

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