A former elementary school educator from Newton, Massachusetts, has been handed a 45-year sentence in a federal correctional facility for his role in an online forum dedicated to child pornography. The members of this forum encouraged sexual abuse of children younger than 12 and employed tactics to dodge law enforcement, as noted by both the Newton TAB and the Boston Globe.
David Ettlinger, a 35-year-old resident of Brighton, Mass., received his sentence in a federal court in Louisiana earlier this week. He had admitted guilt in August 2012 to the offense of participating in a child exploitation venture, linked to his involvement in the Dreamboard Child Exploitation online board.
In addition to his prison term, Ettlinger will be under lifetime surveillance after his release.
Ettlinger still awaits trial on numerous additional charges within Massachusetts, featuring multiple allegations of sexual assault involving minors under 14.
U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley emphasized, “This verdict significantly emphasizes that those who exploit children will face severe consequences.”
In January 2012, Ettlinger was apprehended at his residence in Brighton on child pornography possession charges. At that time, he was a second-grade instructor at Underwood Elementary School. He had also taught for one academic year at Peirce Elementary School and resigned his position shortly after his arrest.
Upon his arrest, further searches by authorities led to the discovery of child pornographic material and a video featuring Ettlinger sexually assaulting a minor under the age of 14. Subsequent investigations revealed more videos that allegedly show Ettlinger assaulting young girls, some of whom he was supposed to be babysitting. It was clarified that none of the victims were his pupils, although investigators did find that he had secretly taken inappropriate pictures of students at school.
Special Agent Raymond Parmer commented, “The violation of trust due to sexual abuse of a child by an educator is profoundly distressing. Our utmost priority is to bring such offenders to justice to ensure they can’t harm children again.”
Ettlinger’s capture was a part of a larger operation that initiated in 2009, targeting 72 individuals and an estimated 500 participants globally, who were believed to be affiliated with the confidential, member-exclusive online forum. According to law enforcement, the forum traded an extensive and graphic library of images, encouraging the production of new content. Access was facilitated through proxy servers, and files were typically encrypted. Participants used pseudonyms; Ettlinger was known by the alias “Eel.”
Investigations into the Dreamboard forum uncovered evidence that at least 38 children worldwide had been sexually exploited by members of the network.
No set date exists for the commencement of Ettlinger’s state trials in Massachusetts. Representatives from both the Middlesex and Suffolk district attorney offices stated that they have been awaiting the conclusion of the federal case to proceed with their respective charges.