A former Naval officer and Navy physician’s assistant was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison Tuesday on 12 separate counts of sexual exploitation of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12 years old.
San Diego resident Brandon W. Schroth, 40, will spend the next four decades behind bars for the felonies, U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes ruled.
He was also ordered to 25 years of supervised release and must now register as a sex offender. Schroth will also pay more than $144,000 in restitution to two of the minor victims so they can pay for past and future counseling.
Judge Hayes said he was not significantly moved by letters of support for the defendant, given his crimes.
“Your friends and family saw one side of you. The victims in this case saw the other side, a side they will have to live with for the rest of their lives,” said the judge. “Your actions have placed the victims in their own private jail, with no release date.”
Schroth entered his guilty pleas in November 2012.
He has been in federal custody since March 2012, when special agents with the FBI arrested him and charged him with the child sex abuse counts.
According to court documents, between December 18, 2010, and December 26, 2010, Schroth boarded a flight from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany, to engage in sexually explicit conduct with a minor outside the U.S. He planned to film his interaction with the minor.
During that time, investigators said Schroth was staying with a then-active duty Air Force member and mother of two minor girls, ages 9 and 11.
After Schroth returned to the U.S. in late December 2010, court records show he took sexually explicit photographs of a 9-year-old girl at his home in Mission Valley.
He also corresponded with a man in Colorado – Jeffrey Allan Mueller – with whom he planned to share the sexually explicit videos of the children.
FBI investigators later found videos produced in Germany of two minor females and several other sexually explicit images of minors taken by Schroth on Mueller’s computer in Colorado.
In July 2012, Mueller pleaded guilty to five counts of production of child pornography and one count of transportation of child porn. He, too, was sentenced to 40 years in federal custody.
During the investigation into Schroth and Mueller, detectives identified at least five additional producers of child porn and saved approximately 35 additional child victims of ongoing sexual abuse depicted in pornographic images, officials said.
On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden told the court that Schroth deserved the harshest possible sentence.
“The darkest of demons do not commit their crimes wearing ski masks and carrying guns,” Haden said. “The darkest of demons manipulate their way into your home and attack your children - all for their own sexual gratification.”