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Press Release

Substitute Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sextortion Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Carver County man pleaded guilty to child pornography and extortion charges related to a years-long sextortion scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.

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 by using false online personas. Ottinger threatened to disseminate the images and videos of his victims in order to extort more images and videos. Over the course of several years Ottinger victimized more than 10 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. 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 pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright to two counts of production and attempted production of child pornography and one count of interstate communication with intent to extort. A sentencing date has not been set.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi is prosecuting the case.

Updated October 19, 2021

Project Safe Childhood