Special Agent Discusses Sextortion case
Jacksonville Special Agent Larry Meyer led the FBI's investigation of Lucas Michael Chansler, who used the Internet to victimize nearly 350 teenage girls.
Special Agent Larry Meyer: None of us in Jacksonville—including task force officers and fellow agents who have been working these types of violations for years—we had never seen anything like this before.
Mr. Chansler was very cyber savvy.
Like I said, he had been operating for at least three years—probably longer—through the use of proxy servers, which concealed his online whereabouts. He had numerous online persona to conceal his online identity.
Using Myspace as an example, he had a persona of six different young boys and corresponding pictures, all involved in skateboarding. I mean, good-looking kids. Fifteen years old. Some of it was boy child pornography, too, where they were showing their genitals.
And he would go online purporting to be one of these and he would appear to be randomly finding girls either, again, on Stickcam or Myspace, and strike up a conversation with them.
Several of the instances, I think in one Stickcam video, we have four girls all exposing their breasts. They were apparently having a sleepover and he contacted one of them and, again, these four young girls thought they were having a conversation, a video chat session on Stickcam with a 15-year-old boy they'd never see or hear from again. So they're all there exposing their breasts, not realizing he's doing a screen capture, and then he’s coming back later—very often in a different persona—saying, "Hey, I’ve got these pictures of you, and if you don’t want these sent to all your Myspace friends or posted on the Internet, you are going to do all these poses for me." And his whole list was I think 26 different poses, for a total of 41 different images.
That’s how a lot of times these young girls got on this slippery slope of what would be a relatively benign picture of exposing their breasts to fulfilling his perverted desires.
When we interviewed him, we asked why he selected that age group, and one of the comments he made was, well, because older girls wouldn’t fall for his ploy.
He said all told, it would be files of about 50 victims on his computer. When our computer forensic examiner started doing his thing, we found the files of nearly 350 young girls. Again, several of the files had multiple victims.
When he was done with them, when he obtained all of the illicit images or videos he was seeking, they would be placed in the "Done" file, I guess so he didn’t waste his time going back after them later. He knew if they were in the Done file, they were done.
In the "Pending," there were many of the files, too. Next to the victim’s name, he'd have little notes to himself. I remember one was "Will try again." Another was he had a note on Facebook now. So he made little notes to himself next to the victims’ folders, I guess to remind him for the next time he went online hunting them down.
We started each day and ended each day in the same little room, which was dubbed the Chansler room, and we went through each victim’s file trying to find clues to identify these girls.
So far, we have positively identified and registered 106 victims. They’ve been located in 26 states, three Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom. Leads have gone out to 39 different FBI field offices to conduct these investigations.
There’s still about 250 young girls—well, young women now—out there who have not had closure yet, so that’s certainly one of our goals, is to try to identify as many of these remaining victims who are out there so they can be located, they can be interviewed, and obtain any necessary counseling they might need. And to let them know that this dark period of their life is over. They don’t have to be looking over their shoulder thinking, "Is this guy still out there? Is he looking for me? Is he going to be coming back?"
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