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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Federal Grand Jury Indicts North Suburban Man on Child Pornography and Extortion Charges

CHICAGO — A federal indictment accuses a north suburban man of threatening to publish sexually explicit photos of an underage girl unless she created child pornography for him.

DAVID J. COTTRELL, 28, of Niles, is charged with two counts of transportation of child pornography, one count of extortion, one count of inducement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, one count of attempting to produce child pornography, one count of production of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. 

Cottrell appeared Tuesday in federal court in Chicago before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason and was ordered detained in federal custody.  A status hearing was set for Nov. 6, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman.  The indictment was returned Oct. 17, 2018, and Cottrell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney.

According to the indictment and the government’s memorandum in support of detention, Cottrell in 2014 induced the underage victim into sending him sexually explicit photos through the internet.  After collecting semi-nude photos of the victim, Cottrell informed her that he knew her real name, the name of her school, and her parents’ jobs, and he threatened to post the images online and send them to her family unless the girl sent him additional, more explicit images, the government’s memorandum states.  The victim complied with Cottrell’s demands by creating and sending additional photos and videos to him, the memorandum states. 

Cottrell contacted the victim on a near-daily basis until her parents discovered the messages in 2017 and contacted law enforcement, according to the memorandum.  While communicating with the victim, Cottrell used the names “sevendollarcab” and “b88785” on the Kik and Snapchat online applications, and introduced himself as “Dave,” the memorandum states.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Cottrell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678, or file a report on its website,

Cyber Crime
Updated October 24, 2018