Skip to main content
Press Release

Suburban Chicago Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison on Child Pornography and Exploitation Charges

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

CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man was sentenced today to 27 years in federal prison for threatening to publish sexually explicit images of an underage girl unless she sent him additional photos and videos of herself.

DAVID J. COTTRELL, 31, of Niles, Ill., enticed the underage victim into sending him sexually explicit photos of herself via online social messaging applications.  After collecting the photos, Cottrell informed the girl 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 photos and videos, which she did.  Cottrell contacted the victim on a regular basis until her parents discovered the messages and contacted law enforcement.

Cottrell pleaded guilty last year to one count of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of possession of child pornography.  He admitted in a plea agreement that he similarly induced or attempted to induce four other minor victims into sending him sexually explicit images of themselves.  While communicating with the victims online, Cottrell used the screennames “sevendollarcab,” “brightcitylights,” “b88785,” and “YouShallSubmitToMe Sir.”

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed the sentence today after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Angie Salazar, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.  The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by calling 1-800-843-5678 or logging on to

Updated May 11, 2021

Project Safe Childhood