Trial date set for McMinn woman in 43-count sex case involving 18 underage boys

McMinn County Sheriff's Office / Melissa Ann Blair, of Englewood, Tenn.
McMinn County Sheriff's Office / Melissa Ann Blair, of Englewood, Tenn.

A trial date has been set for the McMinn County, Tennessee, woman charged in early 2022 with having sexual contact with at least 18 teenage boys that resulted in more than 40 criminal counts, according to court officials.

Melissa Ann Blair, 39, of Englewood, Tennessee, now faces a trial date on Aug. 8, 2023, set Friday by Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg, court officials said. A motion hearing is also set for the day before the trial.

Robert R. Kurtz, Blair's attorney, declined comment on the case when contacted Monday by phone.

Blair is free on a $1 million bond, according to McMinn County Jail officials. She remains under court orders to stay in her car when picking up her children. She is otherwise barred from being on school property.

Blair was initially indicted in February by the McMinn County grand jury on 23 criminal counts for her alleged contact with the first nine boys, all students at McMinn Central High School in Englewood, including 18 counts of aggravated statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by patronizing prostitution and one count of solicitation of a minor, court records show.

The youngest of the alleged victims in that indictment was 14, court records show.

In June, Blair was charged with 20 more counts related to nine new male victims. The indictments from June's grand jury session included three counts of solicitation of a minor, four counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means, five counts of patronizing prostitution, six counts of aggravated statutory rape, sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means, according to court records and officials. The youngest alleged victim in June was 15.

Blair's only connection to local schools is as a parent of students, according to authorities.

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Blair was communicating with the boys on social media, arranging meetings with them and trading items for sexual encounters in the first set of charges, according to McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.

A letter from McMinn County Director of Schools Lee Parkison to Blair in December 2021 banned her from all county school properties or activities, according to authorities.

An investigation was launched Dec. 9, 2021, after a referral from the Tennessee Department of Children's Services that alleged Blair had been having sexual encounters with male juveniles who were students at McMinn Central High School, according to authorities. Blair turned herself in on the initial charges in February, records show.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.