A 25-year-old man from Carver has pleaded guilty to a years-long sextortion scheme involving at least 10 minors, including some he knew from the school district where he worked.
Mitchell James Ottinger, who is a former substitute teacher and paraprofessional, was arrested and charged in May. He pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of production and attempted production of child pornography and one count of interstate communication with intent to extort.
Ottinger pretended to be a young female using the aliases "Taylor Malek" and "Rachel Meyer" with a romantic interest in the victims. He then lured the victims, which include at least 10 minors and one adult, into sending sexually explicit images and videos of themselves to him, according to the charging documents.
If one of his victims blocked or ignored him, Ottinger would contact the victim through the alias or other accounts and threaten to publish and/or share the images unless additional demands for nude photos were met, charges said.
Law enforcement learned of this when one of Ottinger's 15-year-old victims contacted the FBI's National Threat Operations Center in July 2020, charges stated.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in May said 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.
Ottinger's sentencing date hasn't been set.
Officials have not named the school district where Ottinger worked.