A former Newton elementary school teacher has been sentenced to 45 in federal prison for his involvement in an online child pornography forum whose members promoted sexual assault of children under 12 and used various techniques to evade law enforcement detection, according to prosecutors, and as reported by the Newton TAB and Boston Globe.
David Ettlinger, 35, of Brighton, Mass. was sentenced in a Louisiana federal court on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty in August 2012 to the charge of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise in connection with his membership in the Dreamboard Child Exploitation bulletin board.
Ettlinger was also sentenced to lifetime supervision following the end of his prison term.
Ettlinger still faces a slew of charges in Massachusetts, including several counts of sexual assault of a child under 14.
“Children should not be victims,” U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said in a statement. “This sentence sends a strong message to people who abuse children that they will pay a heavy price for their actions.”
Ettlinger was arrested at his Brighton home in January 2012 and charged with possession of child pornography. He was teaching second grade at Underwood Elementary School at the time of his arrest, and he also taught for one year at Peirce Elementary School. He resigned shortly after his arrest.
After Ettlinger’s arrest, prosecutors sai d they found child pornography and a video of him sexually assaulting a girl under 14.
Further investigation uncovered other videos of Ettlinger allegedly assaulting young girls, some of whom he was babysitting. None of the victims were his students, though prosecutors did discover he had taken inappropriate photos of students at school without them knowing.
“The sexual abuse of an innocent child by a teacher is one of the most heartbreaking violations of trust imaginable,” said Special Agent Raymond Parmer. “Investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes is one of our highest priorities and today’s sentencing ensures this predator will never again have the opportunity to harm another child.”
Ettlinger’s arrest was the result an investigation that began in 2009 that targeted 72 individuals and 500 other participants from around the world believed to be part of the private, members-only online bulletin board.
Members traded a massive library of graphic images, authorities said, and the creation of new images was encouraged. Users accessed the board through proxy servers and materials were often encrypted. Members used aliases, or screen names, and Ettlinger went by “Eel,” according to federal prosecutors.
Evidence obtained during the investigation of Dreamboard revealed that at least 38 children across the world had been sexually abused at the hands of members of the group.
Representatives for the Middlesex and Suffolk district attorney offices said there is no timetable for when his trials in Massachusetts will begin, as prosecutors have been awaiting the conclusion of the federal case before proceeding with their own.