A married West Hamblen County man, who federal prosecutors say stalked underage girls he encountered on Snapchat, a social-media application, allegedly blackmailed the juveniles to send him sexually explicit photographs of themselves, according to a federal indictment unsealed last week.

Michael Lee Foster, who lived on Saddle Ridge Lane in the Huntington Ridge subdivision, is 52 years old. The victim was a 14-year-old girl from Norwalk, Ohio, a small town about 60 miles west of Cleveland, according to FBI Agent Bianca Pearson.

A federal grand jury in Greeneville indicted Foster for enticing a minor to produce child pornography, possession and receipt of child pornography and using the internet to persuade or induce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

If convicted of the enticement offense, Foster will face at least 15 years in federal prison.

The defendant was taken into custody in northern Indiana on Nov. 6, one day after Pearson filed a criminal complaint. By late this morning, he didn’t have a scheduled date for his initial appearance.

Pearson identified seven of Foster’s alleged victims, but she used the 14-year-old to illustrate the suffering Foster allegedly inflicted on his targets and another to demonstrate how ruthlessly the defendant allegedly pursued the teens.

By means unexplained, Foster came into possession of nude photographs of an Ohio teen. Foster allegedly told the girl that he would disseminate her nude photos unless she convinced one of her friends to send nude photos to a Snapchat account, according to the criminal complaint.

The 14-year-old sent the images Foster allegedly demanded “thinking it would get (her friend) out of the situation. Then doing that, I got myself into the situation,” the FBI agent quoted the girl as saying. “I asked him politely to delete the pictures he had of me, but he refused.

“He said, ‘If you do not send me the pictures, I will send out your pictures to (one of her male friends) and the Snapchat account of her father,’” the criminal complaint states.

When the 14-year-old girl stopped sending, Foster allegedly made good on his threat. Both the girl’s father and her male friend received the nude photographs, according to the criminal complaint. Foster told the girl he couldn’t be traced because his messages were encrypted. If Foster actually believed that, he was mightily wrong.

Foster had 12 Snapchat accounts. In one instance, he allegedly was communicating with an underage girl on one account about threats he had made using another Snapchat account, according to the criminal complaint, which alleges Foster portrayed himself as a female victim.

“If he is helping you, you are really lucky,” a retrieved chat log states. “I sent (him) some nudes for about two months. And he kept it all private. And he got me off it … It all stopped. I was so much better just to send him soem (sic).”

Accused rapist and kidnapper

arraigned

An accused rapist and kidnapper, who was arrested on Friday in West Virginia after skipping a $350,000 bond, will remain incarcerated without bond until his case is adjudicated, Hamblen County General Sessions Court Judge Douglas Collins ruled this morning.

The preliminary hearing for Christopher Madison Swafford, 41, is scheduled for Dec. 19. If prosecutors present sufficient proof that Swafford allegedly kidnapped and rape a 27-year-old woman he met at a South Hamblen County sports bar, the evidence will be presented to a Hamblen County grand jury in March.

Swafford, who lives on Point Pleasant Road in Cocke County, allegedly sexually assaulted the woman inside his vehicle on Nov. 2 in southeast Hamblen County. The woman escaped, and at one point jumped into the Nolichucky River in an effort to outdistance her alleged attacker.

Swafford denies kidnapping and raping the women.