Residents of a small town in Tennessee are shaken after a woman was charged with having sex with at least nine local high school students in exchange for vape pens, according to reports.
Melissa Blair, 38, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with 18 counts of statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by promoting prostitution, solicitation of a minor and confiscation of personal property, WTVC reported- TV.
According to McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy, there are at least nine confirmed male victims with incidents occurring from spring 2020 through late 2021 among students at McMinn Central High School in the town of Englewood.
Relatives told WTVC that Blair reached out to his victims — all of whom were between 14 and 17 — and offered them items such as vape pens in exchange for sex.
Authorities said they believe there may be more casualties.
Englewood, located about 65 miles north of Chattanooga, has a population of just over 1,500.
Police began investigating Blair after the school district received an anonymous letter, officials said. She is neither a teacher nor an employee of the district but has been involved in the school’s booster club. She had a child in the school system who transferred her.
Blair is banned from school property and school activities.
“We are devastated at this point,” the mother of one of the victims, who asked to remain anonymous, told the outlet. “I can’t describe in words what it’s like to go through what we’re going through right now. It’s all the emotions you can imagine. And none of them are happy.
“People are mostly focused on the abuser,” she continued. “They don’t realize how much it devastates a family. How families are home, and we don’t know what to do next. I have no idea how to move forward with this.
Blair is currently on a $100,000 bond that she posted on Tuesday night. She is due to be arraigned on February 28.
“Parents need to talk to their children to express themselves because it’s not right. It’s really, really not right,” Englewood resident Christie Teague told the station.
“I would be furious if this happened to my children,” she added.
New York Post