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Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Sextortion: FBI Asks For Public's Help In Locating Victims Of Online Predators
The FBI website reports on the growing crime of "sextortion"and asks for the public's help.
Ashley Reynolds was a happy 14-year-old who loved sports, did well in school academically and socially, and enjoyed keeping a journal she intended her “future self” to read. But what happened in the summer of 2009 was so devastating that she couldn’t bring herself to record it in her diary—or speak about it to anyone.
She had become the victim of sextortion, a growing Internet crime in which young girls and boys are often targeted. Her life was being turned upside down by an online predator who took advantage of her youth and vulnerability to terrorize her by demanding that she send him sexually explicit images of herself.
After several months, Ashley’s parents discovered what was happening and contacted the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Ashley and her parents later supported the FBI investigation that led to the arrest of 26-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler, who last year pled guilty to multiple counts of child pornography production and was sent to prison for 105 years—but not before he used the Internet to victimize nearly 350 teenage girls. The majority of those youngsters have not yet been identified.
That’s why the FBI is requesting the public’s help—and why Ashley has come forward to tell her story—so that Chansler’s victims can be located and will know, as Special Agent Larry Meyer said, “that this dark period of their lives is over.”
Meyer, a veteran agent in the FBI’s Jacksonville Division who investigates crimes against children, explained that 109 of Chansler’s victims have been identified and contacted so far, leaving approximately 250 teens “who have not had closure and who probably haven’t obtained counseling and other help they might need.” He noted that Ashley is a brave person with a supportive family “and has been able to use this experience to make her stronger.” Unfortunately, that has not been the case for all the girls, some of whom have dropped out of school and tried to end their lives.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime. He has written extensively about organized crime, street crime, sex crime, cyber crime, drug crime, white collar crime, crime fiction, crime prevention, espionage and terrorism. He is an online columnist and contributing editor to The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International and a regular contributor to the Washington Times. His work has also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and other print and online publications. Paul Davis has been a student of crime since he was a 12-year-old aspiring writer growing up in South Philadelphia. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17 in 1970 and served on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. He also served two years on the Navy harbor tugboat USS Saugus at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. He went on to do security work as a Defense Department civilian employee and then became a freelance writer. You can read Paul Davis' Crime Beat columns, crime fiction and magazine and newspaper pieces on this website. You can also read his full bio by clicking on the above photo.