Nearly 200 parents met this week at the gym of the Underwood Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts after the shocking revelation that a trusted teacher – known to the children as “Mr. E.” – had been arrested on charges that he sexually assaulted a young girl and filmed it.
David Ettlinger, 34, who had been a teacher in Newton public schools for 12 years, taught second grade at Underwood for the last four years. Now, after being charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and posing a child in a state of nudity, his reputation is in tatters, writes Evan Allen at the Boston Globe.
According to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, on Wednesday, Ettlinger pleaded not guilty in West Roxbury District Court.
He pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to related charges of possession of child pornography in Brighton District Court.
A Suffolk District Attorney spokesman confirmed that Ettlinger has been charged with being part of a global child pornography ring called Dreamboard, and is facing a charge in federal court in Louisiana of participating in a child exploitation enterprise in connection to his Dreamboard activities.
At the meeting, Michael Jellinek, MD, President of Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Chief of Child Psychiatry at Mass General Hospital, advised parents to talk calmly and openly with their children, and to let them grieve.
“When something hits like this out of the blue, it makes everyone feel vulnerable,” he said.
Underwood Principal Kathleen Zimmerman said that the school is in the process of firing Ettlinger:
“Pending a hearing” in early February, she said, “he will be terminated.”
Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman said that there are plans for further community meetings in the future.
“There’s a lot of angst in our other schools,” he said.
“This will be ongoing.”
Local parents are distraught. Marisa Morrill, who has a child in fifth grade said:
“I’d seen him around, he seemed like just an average teacher. That’s the scariest part of all.
“We never thought that anything would be wrong at Underwood.”