A Louisiana federal judge sentenced former Newton elementary school teacher David Ettlinger to 45 years in prison Tuesday for his role in an online child pornography ring.
The sentencing allows Ettlinger to be returned to Massachusetts to face charges that he assaulted three girls from the Boston area and recorded the encounters.
Ettlinger, 35, appeared for his sentencing in a Shreveport courtroom with his parents present, nearly one year after his arrest shocked Newton residents and school officials. Ettlinger grew up in Newton and taught in the city’s schools for 12 years. He was a popular second-grade teacher at Underwood Elementary School at the time of his arrest last January.
Ettlinger, who pleaded guilty to one federal count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, will also be under supervision for the rest of his life after he has served his prison term, federal prosecutors said.
“The sexual abuse of an innocent child by a teacher is one of the most heartbreaking violations of trust imaginable,” Raymond Parmer, a special agent in charge of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Orleans, said in a press release. The agency led the investigation into Dreamboard, the online child pornography site that Ettlinger frequented.
Ettlinger appeared before US District Judge S. Maurice Hicks for a hearing that lasted about an hour.
“Today’s sentencing ensures this predator will never again have the opportunity to harm another child,” Parmer said in a statement.
Ettlinger said he was genuinely sorry, said Jennifer Culotta, his attorney.
Ettlinger requested treatment in prison, she said.
“My client wants help and wants treatment,” Culotta said. “I hope, and my client hopes, that any of the victims in the case begin to heal.”
According to federal court documents, Ettlinger made more than 100 posts on Dreamboard between June 2009 and August 2010 and often visited a section for video of children under 13. His frequent participation earned him VIP status on Dreamboard, a site that federal investigators describe as a worldwide network that promoted the sexual abuse of young children.
Ettlinger is among more than 40 people who have been sentenced to prison for their role in Dreamboard.
The end of the federal case means that state authorities can bring Ettlinger back to Massachusetts.
Here he faces multiple charges, among them, indecent assault of a child and posing a child in a state of nudity.
In addition to his teaching job, Ettlinger also advertised his services as a baby sitter. At least one of the three girls he is alleged to have assaulted was a child he was hired to baby-sit.
None of the three girls involved in the state cases were his students. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said court officials have not scheduled a date for Ettlinger’s local court appearance. Wark would not comment on whether Ettlinger is likely to also plead guilty in state court.
“That’s a decision he’ll make,” Wark said.
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