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Second-grade teacher at Newton school faces child pornography charges

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  January 17, 2012 03:06 PM

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A 34-year-old second-grade teacher at a Newton public elementary school was ordered to be held on $10,000 cash bail after facing child pornography charges this afternoon following his arrest at his Allston residence this morning.

David Ettlinger, 34, was arraigned at Brighton District Court this afternoon, hours after local, state and federal authorities arrested him at his residence at 1415 Commonwealth Ave., according to Suffolk District Attorney spokesman Jake Wark.

Judge Franco Gobourne set Ettlinger's bail at $10,000, after prosecutors said they recommended the teacher be held on $250,000 cash bail.

The district attorney's spokesman said Ettlinger is a teacher at the Underwood Elementary School in Newton. According to the school's website, Ettlinger is a second grade teacher there.

“It’s very upsetting news,” Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman said in an interview this afternoon. “People here are just stunned.”

Ettlinger was a “very well-respected and popular teacher” who had worked for the school system for 12 years, most of that time at Underwood, Fleishman said.

Fleishman said there are no reports that any of Ettlinger’s students are among the victims. The pornography was found on his home computer, Fleishman said.

A warrant was issued amid an ongoing federal investigation and executed early this morning when Ettlinger was arrested, Wark said.

Today’s search and a “preliminary viewing” of Ettlinger’s personal computer led to the recovery of “multiple” image files depicting children under 18 in “sexualized contexts,” the spokesman said. He said there was “no exact count” of the number of such files found and investigators have not yet determined for how long the files were on Ettlinger’s computer.

The school system has sent a crisis team to Underwood to offer staff and students counseling and he will be sending a letter to all Underwood parents tonight, Fleishman said.

“Our focus is on supporting, students, family and staff at the Underwood Elementary School,” he said.

The division did routine criminal background check on Ettlinger last year that turned up no red flags, Fleishman said.

Newton does the checks every three years on staff members who work directly with children, he said.

Ettlinger is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. He earned an annual salary of $72,925, Fleishman said.

“Our first priority is ensuring the safety of every child,'' Newton Mayor Setti Warren said in a statement released after the arrest. "If these allegations prove to be true, the suspect detained should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The type of behavior that is alleged has absolutely no place in our community.”

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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