HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — New details have been uncovered about how a Hendersonville man ended up behind bars facing more than 100 charges in a child sex abuse investigation.
Jay Chandler, 39, faces 12 counts of rape, plus 89 counts of various charges involving sexual exploitation of a minor. Investigators say the case began with a statutory rape allegation and developed with a list of additional, more serious charges.
“This investigation has been a surprising turn of events,” Cmdr. Scott Ryan with the Hendersonville Police Department told News 2.
The case was first brought to the attention of the mother of a teenage victim in October 2022 thanks to an alert neighbor, according to an affidavit. The paperwork says Chandler was a supervisor of the victim at a local restaurant.
During the statutory rape investigation, Chandler’s phone was seized leading investigators to uncover seven counts for rape of a child older than 3 but under the age of 13, according to an indictment. The list of charges on the indictment detail several disturbing acts that were documented.
“It is sickening. However, we know what we signed up for and we have a group of dedicated men and women that are willing to walk through the muck and the mire to help carry victims to the other side so that they are able to transition from victim to survivor,” explained Ryan.
Thousands of disturbing images were uncovered between Chandler’s phone, laptop and hard drive, according to an indictment.
“We have a victim for every image that’s depicted, that’s determined to be child pornography. Every person that’s a subject of those pictures is a victim and there are thousands of those at this time,” said Ryan.
Investigators are working with multiple victims and Ryan says at this point they don’t know of more, but with continued exposure, others could come forward.
Ryan says they are able to forensically analyze devices at the police department now and that’s helped expedite this case, but there is still a lot to review.
“We are trying to do more onsite exploration so that we can take quick action to get these predators off the street. We are shocked any time we see this type of activity because, in the normal mind, it’s hard to fathom how somebody could do something like this,” said Ryan. “We actually are shocked when we see it, but we are no longer surprised because we are seeing it more and more in our society today. That’s why it’s very important that we invest in this to try and curb this in any way possible.”
Chandler is set to be in court in April.
Anyone with more information on this case is asked to call the Hendersonville Police Department at 615-822-1111 or Hendersonville Crime Stoppers at 615-594-4113.