A U.S. Navy SEAL has been arrested and charged with four counts related to child pornography after investigators found explicit images and videos of minors on his cell phone, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Thursday.
Gregory Kyle Seerden, identified in court records as a member of Navy SEAL Team 1, was arrested in California last week. Federal prosecutors allege he molested a young girl in Virginia while she was sleeping. Investigators allegedly found videos on his cell phone showing the abuse.
Special agent Christi Pickett of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) filed an affidavit in the Eastern District of Virginia on March 31 with details of the investigation. A grand jury subsequently indicted Seerden on four counts related to child pornography, including possession and production of child pornography. The production charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, according to the Virginian-Pilot, which first reported the charges.
Federal prosecutors said investigators discovered graphic photos and videos of minors on Seerden’s iPhone after a woman accused Seerden of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room on a military base while she was intoxicated. Navy investigators seized Seerden’s phone searching for evidence related to the woman’s allegation and came across photos depicting young children who appeared to be engaged in sex acts, according to the affidavit.
A federal judge issued a search warrant allowing investigators to examine the full contents of Seerden’s phone for suspected child pornography. Forensic examiners discovered 78 images allegedly showing child pornography, including depictions of children engaged in bestiality and naked minors in bondage, according to the complaint.
NCIS investigators also discovered four videos and one photograph with metadata indicating they had been shot using Seerden’s phone. The videos showed a man masturbating and molesting a sleeping girl who appeared to be as young as 5 years old, according to the affidavit. The man’s face was not visible in the videos. Investigators determined the girl was likely related to Seerden, the affidavit said.
A federal judge issued a warrant for Seerden’s arrest on March 31 and he was taken into custody on April 17 in California, court records show. SEAL Team 1 is based in San Diego.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that U.S. Marshals are currently in the process of bringing Seerden to Virginia to be arraigned. Seerden was on temporary assignment in Norfolk, Virginia, when investigators seized his cell phone, according to court records.
Court records don’t list an attorney for Seerden. A spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group 1 told the Virginian-Pilot they were cooperating with “investigative authorities” on the case.
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