Substitute Teacher Charged in “Sextortion” Case
MINNEAPOLIS – Mitchell James Ottinger, 25, of Carver, Minnesota, was arrested yesterday on criminal charges for alleged production of child pornography related to sextortion and threats of extortion. A detention and preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 7, 2021, at 2:00 pm before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright.
According to court documents, Ottinger created and used multiple Internet accounts to encourage and direct minors and an adult to create sexually explicit images and videos of themselves to send to Ottinger. Ottinger posed as a young female using aliases including “Taylor Malek” or “Rachel Meyer,” in order to obtain the images and videos. If a victim later blocked or ignored “her,” Ottinger would contact the victim—through the alias or other accounts—and threaten to publish the victim’s sexually explicit image(s) to others unless additional demands for sexually explicit images were met. This conduct is sometimes referred to as “sextortion.”
Law enforcement was alerted to the sextortion when one of the victims contacted the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center and reported the threats. Based on the evidence obtained in this investigation, authorities believe there may be additional victims of the alleged conduct. Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call the FBI Minneapolis Division at 763-569-8000.
Ottinger is charged with two counts of production and attempted production of child pornography and two counts of making extortionate threats. If convicted, Ottinger faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk of the District of Minnesota; and Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda Dugi is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.