A U.S. Navy SEAL from SEAL Team 1 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to child pornography charges and that he recorded himself molesting a 5-year-old girl while she slept.
Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Kyle Seerden was arrested in May on the child pornogrpahy charges while he was being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) for a separate sexual assault allegation. Seerden has not yet been charged in the latter case.
The Navy said this week that Seerden could face a military court-martial once the investigation is completed, but the conviction this week will also have Seerdon behind bars for several years, as he faces a minimum 15-year sentence in prison, Stars and Stripes reported.
Seerden is slated to be sentenced on Jan. 18, 2018, in the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.
The child pornography charge stemmed from the NCIS investigation into allegations that Seerden sexually assaulted a woman in January.
After a January incident when Seerden allegedly assaulted a woman while she was blacked out after drinking, she reported the incident.
When NCIS began investigating, they found “dozens of images and videos of prepubescent children engaged in sex acts, court documents said,” according to a report.
Four videos were created on Jan. 2 of this year, and they showed “a man touching a sleeping 5-year-old girl with his penis, court documents said,” Stars and Stripes reported.
While his face wasn’t on camera, the man molesting the child was wearing a similar shirt to the one Seerden was seen wearing in other photos the NCIS found on his phone, court documents said.
The 5-year-old’s father said he had allowed the Navy SEAL to “sleep in his daughter’s room the night the pictures were taken,” court documents said.
Stars and Stripes also reported:
Seerden’s attorney tried earlier this year to suppress the search of his client’s phone. Among other things, he argued that Seerden’s commanding officer had no authority to grant investigators access.
U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson agreed but determined that the investigators were acting in “good faith” when they asked for the officer’s permission. He denied the motion to suppress.
Seerden’s plea agreement was crafted in such a way as to let him still appeal the legality of the phone search. If an appellate court rules in his favor, he can withdraw the plea.