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McMinn Co. Grand Jury adds additional charges of statutory rape as new information, victims come to light

The Department of Children’s Services notified detectives on Dec. 9 that Blair had sexual encounters with male juveniles who were students at McMinn Central High School.
The Department of Children’s Services notified detectives on Dec. 9 that Blair had sexual encounters with male juveniles who were students at McMinn Co. Central
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 3:04 PM CST|Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:14 PM CDT
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MCMINN CO., Tenn. (WVLT) - The McMinn County Grand Jury indicted Melissa Blair with more charges of statutory rape, solicitation of a minor and more for a total of 20 charges.

An Englewood woman posted bail after being indicted on charges regarding sexually assaulting nine high school students, according to McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.

UPDATE: Woman Charged With Statutory Rape Of Students

The woman, Melissa Blair, 38, was indicted on 23 total charges, 18 of which were for aggravated statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by patronizing prostitution, and one count of solicitation of a minor, officials said. https://bit.ly/3Bng32h

Posted by WVLT on Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The woman, Melissa Blair, 38, was indicted on 23 total charges, 18 of which were for aggravated statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by patronizing prostitution, and one count of solicitation of a minor, officials released Tuesday afternoon.

Melissa Blair was indicted on 23 counts, 18 of which are counts of aggravated statutory rape.
Melissa Blair was indicted on 23 counts, 18 of which are counts of aggravated statutory rape.(McMinn County Sheriff's Office)

The Department of Children’s Services notified detectives on Dec. 9 that Blair had sexual encounters with male juveniles who were students at McMinn Central High School.

A search warrant was executed at Blair’s residence on Dec. 15 by the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office. She was then banned from school property and activities.

“The search warrant revealed additional evidence, and our investigation grew larger as more parents and victims contacted us,” Sheriff Guy said.

According to the sheriff, there were nine confirmed victims, all juveniles at the time. Two are now adults, officials said. The incidents range in date from Spring 2020 to late 2021, according to Guy.

“We suspect there may be additional juvenile victims, and we encourage them or their parents to contact us,” Sheriff Guy said. “There may possibly be other victims who are now adults, and we also encourage them to contact us.”

Blair set up meetings with the victims through social media and offered trading items for sexual favors, said Guy.

Director of McMinn County Schools Lee Parkison said that Blair was involved in booster clubs with the school, “just like most parents involved with the school,” but did not work for the school in an official capacity. Blair had a student enrolled at the school that later transferred, according to Parkison.

“When you’re dealing with kids and families and communities, it’s just part of it,” said Parkison. “It’s just part of the job. We just happen to hit these rough spots pretty close together.”

McMinn County Schools representative and School Counselor Supervisor Lori Hutchinson provided a statement on the situation, saying the school system plans to offer services for students.

Based on yesterday’s announcement by Sheriff Guy, we are working to provide educational and counseling resources for McMinn County Schools students, faculty, and staff with respect to the issue of human trafficking. This includes connecting with agencies with expertise in human trafficking and trauma informed counseling for available educational materials and resources, reaching out to our current school-based mental health providers to possibly expand their services, and executing short-term agreements with additional qualified counselors if needed.

Lori Hutchinson

She had a $100,000 bond which she paid and was released Tuesday evening. Her next court appearance will be held on Feb. 28.

The investigation remains active and ongoing.

Large Sex Offense Investigation

Officials are holding a press conference at the McMinn Co. Justice Center regarding "a large sex offense investigation involving high school students."

Posted by WVLT on Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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