From the Chattanooga Times Free Press: The trial for the McMinn County, Tennessee, woman facing more than 40 counts of having sex with 18 teen boys, set for Tuesday, has been delayed and a new date set for October.
Melissa Ann Blair, 40, of Englewood, is now scheduled for a motion and status hearing Oct. 2 before Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg, according to an order signed Thursday by Freiberg. The order was agreed to by both sides in the case.
Robert R. Kurtz, Blair’s attorney, declined comment on the case when contacted Monday by phone.
Neither Kurtz nor District Attorney Shari Tayloe’s office can comment on the case because of a gag order Freiberg issued in December, citing heavy media coverage.
Meanwhile, Blair remains free on a $1 million bond under court orders to stay in her car when picking up her children. She is otherwise barred from being on school property, according to court documents.
The charges stem from alleged acts investigators say happened between spring 2020 and December 2021.
The investigation was launched Dec. 9, 2021, after a referral from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services 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 2022, records show.
Blair was initially indicted in February 2022 by the McMinn County grand jury on 23 criminal counts for her alleged contact with 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 at the time, court records show.
In June 2022, Blair was charged with 20 more counts related to allegations involving nine other boys. The indictments issued by the June 2022 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.
The youngest alleged victim in the June indictments was 15 at the time.
Blair’s only connection to local schools is as a parent of students, according to authorities.
Blair was communicating with the boys on social media, arranging meetings with them and trading items for sexual encounters, according to a statement McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy issued after the indictments and before the gag order.
The hearing Oct. 2 is set for 1:30 p.m., according to court documents.