An Eastern Carver County School District substitute teacher was arrested and charged on Tuesday with threats of sextortion of an adult and two teenage minors, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
According to court documents, Mitchell James Ottinger, 25, of Carver, has been charged with two counts of production and attempted production of child pornography and two counts of making extortionate threats.
Ottinger is no longer employed by the district and no current students of his are believed to be victims, according to a statement from Eastern Carver County Schools.
Ottinger created fake internet accounts to “encourage and direct” minors and adults to make sexually explicit images and videos; if the victim blocked or ignored Ottinger, he would contact the victim and threaten to publish the sexually explicit images, court documents said.If convicted, Ottinger faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, according to a Department of Justice statement.“This is a tremendously difficult day for our students, parents and community,” said Superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams. “I know we all have questions, but right now we have to trust in the work of the FBI and Department of Justice. Our focus as a district is to support our students and staff and make sure they are taken care of.”
Investigators believe Ottinger has been catfishing and sextorting victims since at least 2012 and there may be more victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI Minneapolis Division at 763-569-8000.
The FBI is continuing to investigate the case. Ottinger’s preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 2 p.m. May 7.