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Former Mass. schoolteacher gets 45 years for role in child porn network

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A former Massachusetts elementary school teacher was sentenced Tuesday to 45 years in prison for his role in an international criminal network, known as Dreamboard, dedicated to the sexual abuse of children and the creation and global dissemination of graphic images and videos of child sexual abuse.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said David Ettlinger, 35, of Newton, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Maurice Hicks in Louisiana, where he will "spend 45 years in prison for his role in a horrific international conspiracy to sexually exploit young children."

"Ettlinger participated in a criminal online community that encouraged members to regularly produce content depicting extreme sexual abuse of children," Mr. Breuer said. "The members of Dreamboard attempted to evade law enforcement by disguising their locations, but today's sentencing is a strong reminder that the department is dedicated to working with its law enforcement partners to track down child predators who seek to take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens."

Ettlinger pleaded guilty in August to one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. Evidence presented in court documents and at sentencing revealed that Ettlinger had been an active member of Dreamboard, an online child pornography bulletin board, since 2009.

Dreamboard was a private, members-only online bulletin board created and operated to promote pedophilia and encourage the sexual abuse of very young children, in an environment designed to avoid law enforcement detection.

A total of 72 persons, including Ettlinger, have been charged as a result of Operation Delego. To date, 57 of the 72 have been arrested in the United States and abroad — 45 pleaded guilty and one was convicted after trial. Fifteen remain at large and are known only by their online identities.

Mr. Breuer said Ettlinger and other Dreamboard members traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting children 12 years old and under, often violently, and collectively created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse. The international group prized and encouraged the creation of new images and videos of child sexual abuse.

He said Dreamboard members employed a variety of measures designed to conceal their criminal activity from detection by law enforcement: Members communicated using aliases or "screen names," rather than their actual names; Links to child pornography posted on Dreamboard were required to be encrypted with a password that was shared only with other members; and members accessed the board via proxy servers, which routed internet traffic through other computers to disguise a user's actual location.

Mr. Breuer said membership was tightly controlled by the administrators of the bulletin board, who required prospective members to upload child pornography portraying children 12 years of age or younger when applying for membership. Once they were given access, he said members were required continually to upload images of child sexual abuse in order to maintain membership. Members who failed to follow this rule would be expelled from the group.

Evidence obtained during the operation revealed that at least 38 children across the world were suffering sexual abuse at the hands of the members of the group. Efforts by federal, state, local and international law enforcement to locate and identify the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by Dreamboard members are ongoing.

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