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Babysitter Hired Through Sittercity Charged With Child Porn, Sex Assault

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David Ettlinger photo from Facebook.

David Ettlinger photo from Facebook.

Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A former Boston area elementary school teacher has been charged with taking inappropriate pictures of a girl he babysat after he was hired through the Chicago-based babysitter service website Sittercity.com.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, David Ettlinger is accused of taking sexual photographs of a girl he was hired to watch. He is also accused of assaulting a girl he babysat.

It was a frightening discovery for many parents who use such services, especially since Ettlinger is a former 2nd grade teacher, who sounded like a great candidate.

Sittercity officials said they want parents who use their services to know the company took all the precautions available.

Kelly Vranesic, a broadcast designer at CBS 2, said she was nervous using a website to find childcare for her 7-month-old daughter, Penelope.

“Anything on the Internet, meeting people and bringing them into your home, it’s very scary,” she said.

For a Sittercity client in Boston, the worst fears came true. Ettlinger, 34, has been charged with child pornography, for allegedly making a secret recording of a nude child who was in his care. He also has been charged with five counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.

Ettlinger was targeted by federal investigators in Louisiana for allegedly participating in a global child pornography network.

He was arraigned on the assault charges on Wednesday.

Sittercity, based on Kinzie Street in Chicago, released a statement saying “Sittercity is deeply saddened … and took action to remove (Ettlinger) from the network, terminate his membership and notify any parent who had ever had any communications with him.”

The company, which offers background checks online, said it verifies all caregivers’ identifications and checks them against public sex offender registries before allowing them to register at the site. But Ettlinger had no prior record.

Marisa Fetter said Ettlinger’s arrest wouldn’t deter her from going online again to find a babysitter. “People depend on those websites to find their babysitters. Most people I know have their nannies or babysitters that come from a site similar to sitter city.”

Laura Palm said, “They’re very convenient and it is hard to find a babysitter sometimes. And the people I know that have used them have had very good luck.”

Vranesic said she would use an online babysitter site again, “but especially after hearing this, I would be even more careful.”

Again, Sittercity checks public sex offender registries automatically for all candidates before they can register with the site. Additional background checks are available for a fee.

It’s important not to assume all sites conduct these checks at all and using a site like this may be a shortcut, but parents shouldn’t cut corners on checking references and conducting interviews of potential sitters.

Step One: Read the online reviews and ratings listed directly on caregiver profiles on Sittercity.

Step Two: Conduct an interview with all caregivers.

Step Three: Check a caregiver’s references (also listed directly on caregiver profiles on Sittercity).

Step Four: Run a background check. Additional available checks include an enhanced background check and a motor vehicles record check.

You can also check the following websites for help:

National Sex Offender Public Website

Family Watchdog National Sex Offender Registry

Lexis Nexis Background Screening

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