FBI Seeking Information to Identify Victims in International Sextortion Case
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance to identify additional victims of convicted online predator Lucas Michael Chansler. Chansler, 31, formerly of St. Johns, Florida, was sentenced to 105 years in federal prison for engaging in an extortion scheme to produce child pornography. On August 13, 2014, Chansler pled guilty to nine counts of producing child pornography.
According to court testimony, Chansler targeted 350 minor victims in 26 different states throughout the United States, three Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom. One hundred and nine victims have been positively identified.
The FBI is actively working to identify Chansler’s remaining victims. A list of 135 known screen names, including Myspace, Stickam, and AIM, he used while sexually extorting victims can be found on the right side of this page.
Court documents, from 2007 and continuing through January 8, 2010, show that Chansler transmitted threatening communications to hundreds of teen girls over the Internet. He transmitted these threats with the intent to extort photographs and webcam videos showing the victims exposing themselves and engaging in sexually explicit conduct. 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.
Using information received from the parents of one victim and working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), agents were able to identify Chansler and locate his residence. 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.
Forensic analysis of Chansler’s computer media revealed hundreds of folders labeled with the name of each victim. These folders contained personal information specific to the victims, as well as related chat logs and videos or digital photos. Many of the chat logs contained the threats Chansler had made to the victims. In several of the videos, the victims are seen crying and pleading with Chansler. In total, he had approximately 80,000 images and videos in his possession.
Assistant Director Joseph S. Campbell explains, “Sextortion is a growing threat both domestically and internationally. The devastating impact of these crimes on the victims, their families, and friends cannot be ignored. The FBI is committed to using our resources and leveraging law enforcement partnerships around the world to identify and arrest these criminals.”
“This case serves as an example that children anywhere can be targeted for sextortion and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals accountable,” said Campbell.
“I’m proud of the young girl and her parents for taking a stand against sexual exploitation by submitting the information to NCMEC’s CyberTipline,” said Linda Krieg, NCMEC’s acting CEO. “That one CyberTipline report, through the FBI’s investigation, turned out to be the tip of the iceberg involving a sophisticated child predator who allegedly victimized hundreds of children.”
If you have information that may help identify victims of Lucas Michael Chansler or believe you have been victimized by him, please learn more and complete our confidential questionnaire at www.fbi.gov/sextortion. You can also send a confidential e-mail to FBI.VICTIMASSISTANCE@ic.fbi.gov, contact your local FBI field office, or call toll-free at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).