former substitute teacher sentenced to 40 years in prison for sextortion | USAO-MN

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Carver County man was sentenced to 480 months in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for producing child pornography and extortion related to a year-long sextortion scheme, the prosecutor announced American Andrew M. Luger.

“For nearly a decade, Mitchell Ottinger engaged in a sextortion scheme that targeted dozens of vulnerable young victims. This predator will now spend the next 40 years behind bars,” U.S. Attorney Luger said. “The United States Attorney’s Office stands in solidarity with our law enforcement partners in the fight against child sexual exploitation.”

“Today’s crippling sentence reflects the heinous nature of the defendant’s crimes, as he used his position of trust and authority to find and traumatize his victims,” ​​the FBI special agent said in a statement. load, Michael Paul. “Sextortion is a crime that can victimize any child and the FBI will continue to work with our partners and in our communities to ensure that our children know that help is available and that we will spare no effort. to stalk their predators.

According to court documents, Mitchell James Ottinger, 25, a former substitute teacher and paraprofessional, engaged in a scheme to obtain sexually explicit images and videos of minors and adults using fake personas online. Ottinger threatened to release the images and videos of his victims in order to extort more images and videos. Over several years, Ottinger victimized 42 people, including at least 23 minors, some of whom he knew from the school district where he worked.

Law enforcement was alerted to the sextortion when one of the victims contacted the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center and reported the threats.

Ottinger was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright. At sentencing, Judge Wright said Ottinger had committed heinous crimes that introduced serious harm and suffering into the lives of his victims. On October 19, 2021, Ottinger pleaded guilty to two counts of producing and attempting to produce child pornography and one count of interstate communications with intent to extort.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to address the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children through Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information on the Safe Childhood Project, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

If you know of a child who may have been exploited, please call the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visit the NCMEC at www.missingkids.com.

This case is the result of investigations by the FBI and the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi prosecuted the case.

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