A decorated Navy SEAL who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will spend up to 27 years in prison after admitting he sexually abused a 5-year-old family member.
Seerden was stationed in San Diego but had been ordered to work in Virginia last year when he was accused by a woman of sexually assaulting her on a Virginia Beach naval base after a night out drinking and socializing.
When Navy investigators searched Seerden’s phone, they found child pornography, according to court papers. A deeper forensic investigation uncovered more child porn and four videos in which Seerden sexually abused a 5-year-old child while she slept.
That child was a relative, he later admitted. He had been sleeping in the victim’s room while visiting family in another state for the holidays, according to a Navy spokesman.
Seerden is now also charged in San Diego with sexually abusing another family member in 2014, when she was 7. That allegation was investigated at the time but dropped because the child’s mother was reluctant to pursue charges, prosecutors said.
The case was reopened after his arrest last year, officials said. The Navy intends to bring court-martial charges, the Navy spokesman said.
In court filings, public defender Keith Kimball said Seerden was abused in his childhood and suffered injuries in combat.
“After some rough times in his adolescent period, Kyle enlisted in the Navy. When he came back from Afghanistan he was hurting inside but still trying to be himself,” his mother, Jennifer Seerden, wrote in a letter to the court. “Some of his friends were lost and others severely injured and it seemed to really impact him. However, it was his experience in Iraq that I believe really changed him.”
In addition to his sentence, Seerden will pay a $10,000 fine and serve 25 years of supervised release.