MCMINN COUNTY, Tenn. — A McMinn County woman who was previously charged with having sexual encounters with nine underage high school students in exchange for items was indicted again on Tuesday, according to the McMinn County Sheriff's Office.
They said Melissa Blair, 38, of Englewood, was originally charged in February 2022 for incidents with McMinn Central High School students that occurred from Spring 2020 through late 2021. However, the sheriff's office continued investigating and they said they found additional victims. Their cases were presented to a grand jury on Tuesday.
There were 20 additional counts in total. They are listed below.
- Solicitation of a Minor (3 Counts)
- Solicitation of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor by Electronic Means (4 counts)
- Patronizing Prostitution (5 Counts)
- Aggravated Statutory Rape (6 counts)
- Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
- Exploitation of a Minor by Electronic Means
The new counts stem from nine new male juvenile victims, the sheriff's office said. They said they were between 15 years old and 17 years old. They said Blair was talking with them on social media, arranging meetings with them and trading items for sexual encounters.
In total, they said there were 18 confirmed male juvenile victims.
"We knew that there were probably going to be some more victims after the first Grand Jury indictments came out," said Sheriff Joe Guy.
“I want to again commend our detective staff for the many hours of identifying, locating, and interviewing victims and their families, collecting physical and electronic evidence, as well as the many days of putting together the subsequent case file. But most importantly we want to offer support and resources to the victims and their parents as we move forward," he also said.
The victims could reach out to the sheriff's office, the McMinn County School board or the District Attorney General's Office for resources.
Blair was previously banned from all McMinn County school properties and activities, and that is still in effect, according to a release from MCSO.
However, Sheriff Guy said most of the meetings started online, not face-to-face.
"It wasn't like she was making contact with them at sporting events or in the school at all," Sheriff Guy said. "All of this was done through social media and through messaging."
"I think we focus too much on the scary guy on the street, when in fact it's the person messaging our children," the Sheriff added.