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Newton second grade teacher allegedly filmed assault on young girl, prosecutors say

Posted by Your Town  January 18, 2012 05:19 PM

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A second-grade teacher at a Newton school who allegedly participated in a global child pornography ring was arraigned today on charges that he sexually assaulted a young girl and filmed the attack.

David Ettlinger, 34, of Allston, pleaded not guilty today in West Roxbury District Court to charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and posing a child in a state of nudity, according to the office of Suffolk Distict Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Ettlinger’s lawyer, Greg L. Johnson, did not return calls seeking comment today.

Ettlinger was arrested at his home on Tuesday, authorities said, and his computers allegedy contained multiple images of children under 18 in sexual situations. The district attorney's spokesman said Ettlinger is a teacher at the Underwood Elementary School in Newton.

Among the files discovered were images of Ettlinger assaulting the victim, who was under the age of 14 at the time, Conley’s office said in a statement. Those images resulted in today’s charges, according to prosecutors.

Ettlinger pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to related charges of possession of child pornography in Brighton Distrcit Court.

In addition, he is also facing a charge in federal court in Louisiana of participating in a child exploitation enterprise in connection to a global child pornography ring known as Dreamboard, said Conley’s spokesman, Jake Wark.

A spokeswoman for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana, which is prosecuting the case, did not immediately return messages seeking comment today.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced in August that authorities had broken up Dreamboard, a website with participants in 14 countries who uploaded images of young children being abused to access the site’s content.

Users were grouped into tiers based in part on how often they provided content and whether they personally produced the images, authorities said, and posting violent assaults of children was encouraged.

Two other Massachusetts men, Rush Frank Blankenship, 27, of Westfield, and David Michael Whitten, 53, of Lynn, have been convicted in federal court in Louisiana in connection with the Dreamboard investigation.

Newton Schools Superintendent David A. Fleishman said in a phone interview that he is moving to fire Ettlinger because of the charges.

He said there is no evidence that Ettlinger ever harmed any students at Underwood, and that school officials will meet with parents tonight to discuss the case and suggestions for speaking with their children about it.

Fleishman said that Ettlinger was a well-respected teacher and that students and staff are shocked by the charges.

“Stunned is the appropriate word [for] an incredibly upsetting incident,” he said.

Ettlinger was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail yesterday and is due back in the Brighton and West Roxbury courts on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 respectively.

It was not clear yesterday when he will appear in court in Louisiana.

“Let’s be clear about what this case entails,” Conley said in a statement. “It arises out of a long-term federal investigation into the violent sexual abuse of children across state lines and national boundaries. The investigation led to Boston, and more specifically to state charges against this defendant. The evidence as it stands suggests a despicable violation of every duty he had to protect the innocent and vulnerable, and we intend to prosecute that violation aggressively.”

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