Melissa Blair McMinn County Tennessee woman arrested in sex for gifts trade with 9 high school students. Was involved with school’s booster club.
Melissa Blair, 38, of Englewood was arrested on Tuesday and charged with 18 counts of statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by patronizing prostitution, solicitation of a minor, and forfeiture of personal property, WTVC-TV reported.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy in a Facebook post said the alleged incidents took place from spring 2020 to late 2021 with at least 9 victims, all students at McMinn Central High School.
Blair who is not a teacher or employee for the district reached out to her victims through social media— all of whom were between the ages of 14 and 17 — and offered them items such as vape pens in exchange for sex.
Authorities believe there may be more victims. No known motive was immediately offered.
‘Our investigation grew larger as more parents reached out…’
Leading in to the alleged episodes, Blair was involved in the school’s booster club. She had a child in the school system who has transferred.
Police began investigating Blair after the school district received an anonymous letter. On December 15, detectives went to Blair’s residence and spoke to her, which was quickly followed by the execution of a search warrant.
‘The search warrant revealed additional evidence, and our investigation grew larger as more parents and victims contacted us,’ said Sheriff Guy. ‘We were finally able to present the case to the Grand Jury on February 15, upon which the indictments were issued.’
A letter from Director of McMinn County Schools Lee Parkinson was also served, which banned her from school property or any school activities.
She turned herself in at the McMinn County Justice Center after the indictment came down Tuesday. She later posted a $100,000 bond and will appear in court on February 28.
The indictment has left parents shaken and in disbelief.
‘We are devastated at this point,’ a mother of one of the victims, who asked to remain anonymous, told WTVC. ‘I cannot in words describe what it feels like to be going through what we’re going through right now. It is every emotion that you can imagine. And none of them happy.’
Earlier this afternoon, we went to the address of Melissa Blair’s home provided by the online booking report.
We rang her doorbell, knocked, and left a note in attempt to reach out to her and see if she had any comment. pic.twitter.com/maqMXAXtV3
— Eric Benninghoff News (@EricBenninghoff) February 16, 2022
Victims families reeling
‘People focus mostly on the perpetrator,’ she continued. ‘They don’t realize how it devastates a family. How the families are at home, and we don’t know what to do next. I have no idea how to go forward with this.’
‘Parents need to talk to their kids to speak up because it’s not right. It’s just really, really not right,’ Englewood resident Christie Teague told WTVC.
‘I would be livid if it happened to my kids,’ she added.
Englewood, about 65 miles north of Chattanooga, boasts a population of just over 1,500 residents.