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Newton teacher indicted on sexual assault charges on children, as third victim surfaces

Posted by Deidre Fernandes  February 28, 2012 05:32 PM

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A Suffolk County Grand Jury today indicted a former Newton teacher on charges of sexual assaulting two children and secretly photographing his alleged victims.

The indictment brings to three the number of alleged victims of former Newton elementary school teacher David Ettlinger, whose arrest on January 17 has roiled parents, educators and others in the community.

The Suffolk indictment formally charges Ettlinger with two counts of aggravated assault and battery on a child under 14, posing a child in a state of nudity and secretly photographing a nude or semi-nude person. According to the Suffolk District Attorney's office, he had previously been charged with offenses against one of the victims, and the second victim was identified during the grand jury investigation.

Earlier this month, Ettlinger was indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on five counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a third victim, a child under 14.

The Suffolk indictment today came after the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office disclosed that investigators had identified “troubling”, though non-pornographic, photos of Underwood Elementary students in the files of the former teacher.

Parents of the children identified were notified of the photos by the Newton Police Department two weeks ago, said Jessica Venezia Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex DA’s office.

Ettlinger, who was a second-grade teacher in Newton until this month, also faces federal charges for his role in a global Internet pornography ring. He resigned when Newton schools moved to fire him.

None of the victims identified in the criminal cases have been students at Underwood.

Ettlinger’s arrest shook Newton parents, many of whom viewed him as a star teacher. He was known as a rigorous but engaging teacher who could relate to parents. He also made a video tutorial for parents on reading to their children and produced an annual photo collage of students.

This disclosure of the photographs, first reported by WBZ-TV, is the first indication that elements of Ettlinger’s alleged behavior had seeped into the school environment.

The photos don’t appear to be for the annual collage of students, Pastore said.

“It appears that the children were not aware,” that the photos were being taken, Pastore said. “But we don’t think there were any hidden cameras installed in the classroom itself.”

The photos were of children in the playground and school grounds. But since none of the photos were pornographic, they aren’t any criminal charges tied to the activity, Pastore said.

Pastore declined to comment on how many parents were notified and on the exact nature of the photos.

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