sextortionA Florida child porn case is making headlines because of its sheer magnitude. Lucas Chansler, 31, was sentenced to 105 years in prison for his coast to coast sextortion of young girls. Authorities found around 80,000 child porn pictures and videos on his computer and amongst his possessions.

Chansler used video chat to convince 350 girls between the ages of 13 and 18 to send him explicit pictures and videos. The images were sent between 2007 and 2010. Chansler admitted that he extorted the young girls to send nude pictures by threatening them. He pleaded guilty on 9 counts of producing child pornography. He'll likely spend between 15 and 30 years in prison and he'll be forced to pay a quarter of a million dollars in fines for each of the 9 counts.

Chansler didn't target girls in his home state of Florida or any other specific region. He went for anyone and everyone he could ensnare. His victims were spread out across 26 states. Chansler used video chats to weasel his way into conversations with the girls by pretending to be an acquaintance. He used multiple screen names to alter his identity with his victims.

Once Chansler convinced the girls that he was trustworthy, he talked them into undressing in front of their web cams. Chansler then recorded the footage. Sometimes he even streamed video of young boys fondling themselves so that the girls would think that he was around their age range. Chansler used social media sites like MySpace and Facebook to contact his victims. He used these mediums to threaten the girls.  He said that he would publicize their nude images unless they sent him more nude pictures and videos.

All in all, there were 103 minors who sent Chansler pornographic images, each stored in its own unique folder. Each of Chansler's folders was labeled with the victim's name and the logs of their chats. Chansler says that he targeted girls between the ages of 13 and 18 because older women were too intelligent to fall for such a scheme.

Unfortunately, Chansler's case is just one of many that has made the headlines in recent years. Other sextortion incidents include the famous Miss Teen USA hacking where Jared James Abrahams took control of Cassidy Wolf’s (Miss Teen USA) computer as well as other girls' computers to snap shots of them undressing with their web cams. He then threatened Wolf and his other victims to send more pictures or he'd harm them.

Another famous case is Amanda Todd's sextortion in 2010. Todd, a Vancouver resident, frequented video chats to find friends and was convinced into showing her breasts during one of the chats. The other party recorded the image and then contacted her by Facebook to threaten her. If she didn't send more pictures, he'd post her nude image on the web for everyone to see. She didn't comply and he sent the photo to all of her Facebook connections. Todd was then brutally teased in school and tragically commited suicide following the incident.

Chandler's sextortion case is one of the largest sextortion incidents in the history of the United States. Chansler's number of victims was astounding and it should serve as a warning to parents of young girls across the world. Parents of tweens and teens should be hyper aware of these online sexual predators and their elaborate methods.

As Chansler said, he targeted young girls because they are inexperienced. They have significant amounts of free time to spend on the web and engage in video chats. There is no doubt that young girls are the easiest targets for sexual predators.

Educating Teens About Online Predators

Parents and children both need to know that these predators are willing to invest all of their free time to convince tweens and teens to send them inappropriate pictures. This is often quite difficult for a teen to fully grasp. Most are a bit naive and find it hard to believe that there are men out there who will devote thousands of hours to obtaining nude pictures and videos of young girls. Parents need to make this reality clear to their children. The digital age has the potential to ruin a youngster's life and everyone should go online with a healthy amount of skepticism.

Parents should also consider using digital monitoring device to keep tabs on their teen's cell phone and web use. If a parent can identify a potentially harmful online interaction before a deep connection is formed, he'll have the chance to stop it in its tracks. While digital monitoring might feel unnatural at first, it is actually a preventative measure that empowers a parent to protect his youngster's well being.

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Steven Woda
Steve Woda is the co-founder and CEO of uKnow, and a leader in the Internet safety and security field for over 15 years. He frequently speaks on the topics of Internet and mobile security, ecommerce and information economics. You can follow Steve on Twitter or on his blog.