A North Suburban man has pleaded guilty of federal criminal charges of threatening to publish sexually explicit images of an underage girl unless she sent him more explicit photos and videos of herself. 30-year old David J. Cottrell of Niles had enticed a minor victim of sending him explicit photos and videos through online social messaging applications.
Cottrell had collected the photos and threatened the girl that he knew her real name, the name of her school and her parent’s jobs. He threatened that he will post the images online and send them to her family if she didn’t send more explicit photos and videos, which she did. Cottrell kept on contacting the victim until the girl’s parents discovered the messages in 2017.
The parents had contacted law enforcement authorities. Cottrell had pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation and one count of possession of child pornography. Sexual exploitation of a child is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of 30 years. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to ten years.
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman has set the sentencing for June 4, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. 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 announced the guilty plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney represented the government. In the plea agreement, Cottrell admitted that he had tried to induce or attempted to induce four other minor victims into sending him sexually explicit images of themselves. Cottrell used the screennames “sevendollarcab,” “brightcitylights,” “b88785,” and “YouShallSubmitToMe Sir” while communicating the victims online.