The McMinn County grand jury convicted a 38-year-old woman from Englewood, Tennessee on 18 charges.
These charges consist of heinous statutory rape, four counts of human smuggling via sponsoring prostitution, recruitment of a minor, and confiscation of private possessions.
How She Operated and Targeted Children
Melissa Blair targeted kids at McMinn Central High School in an attempt to track down potential victims she previously identified.
38-year-old Melissa Blair was arrested and accused of using vape pens and other enticements to lure local high school students into having sex with her. There were at least nine victims, who were age 14 to 17. pic.twitter.com/Fs9nVSYiM4
— kimberlygrey (@kimberlygrey19) February 20, 2022
According to the county’s head of schools, Blair herself had a child at the very same school who already transferred to another institution.
She apparently engaged in booster clubs, as did a large number of other parents of children. As of February 15, McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy revealed there were nine male victims in the county.
— New York Post (@nypost) February 21, 2022
The sexual assaults took place between the spring of 2020 and the end of the year 2021. Two of Blair’s accusers are now in their early 20s.
The investigation revealed Blair was connecting with the juveniles on social networking sites, scheduling regular meetings with them, then exchanging things for sexual experiences with them, according to Guy.
He spoke at a press conference on Tuesday.
Anonymous Letter and Further Investigations
On December 9, the sheriff’s office got a report from the Tennessee Department of Child Services, containing allegations against Blair, which was reviewed.
Lee Parkison, the director of schools, previously received a letter that contained claims identical to this one.
Parkison stated during the news conference, “I wanted to express my gratitude to the individual who left this anonymous note in my office. It’s possible this would still be going on without them.”
By the 15th of December, the sheriff’s office secured a warrant from a judge to search Blair’s residence. In addition, Parkison issued Blair a notice, prohibiting her from entering or participating in school events.
As a result of their findings, Blair was indicted and taken to jail on Tuesday. She was freed from jail that same day after posting bond, but she is still barred from entering any school buildings.
This type of case is challenging and upsetting, even for veteran detectives, according to Guy, who spoke on Tuesday.
In a statement released Tuesday, District Attorney General Steve Crump of the 10th Judicial District urged unidentified victims to come forward in the future.
According to the District Attorney, “it seems inevitable there are further victims out there. We strongly encourage you to come forward and speak with us.” Blair’s next court appearance is scheduled for February 28.
Though two of the victims are now adults, she will be tried to the full extent of the law. More so, it is scary and alarming that such heinous acts were going on and wouldn’t have been discovered without the anonymous letter.
One can only imagine just how many more similar cases like this are out there.