Home San Diego Press Releases 2012 Former Navy Physician’s Assistant Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Minors Under Age 12...

Former Navy Physician’s Assistant Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Minors Under Age 12
Faces a Minimum of 30 Years and up to Life in Federal Prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 29, 2012
  • Southern District of California (619) 557-5610

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that today Brandon W. Schroth, a former U.S. Navy physician’s assistant in San Diego, pled guilty in federal court to multiple counts in the superseding indictment which charged him with 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12, all felonies. Schroth tendered his guilty pleas before Magistrate Judge David H. Bartick. Schroth’s guilty pleas are subject to final acceptance by United States District Judge William Q. Hayes.

Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Hayes on February 11, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum of 30 years’ custody and up to life, up to a lifetime of supervised release, and mandatory sex offender registration. Schroth has been in custody since his arrest by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in March 2012.

According to court documents, between December 18, 2010 and December 26, 2010, Schroth boarded a flight in San Diego for a final destination to Frankfurt, Germany, to engage in sexually explicit conduct with a minor outside the United States for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct. During that time, he stayed with a then-active duty Air Force member and the mother of two minor females, ages 9 and 11 years old. Court records also reveal that after Schroth returned to the United States in late December 2010, Schroth took sexually explicit photos of a then-9-year-old girl at his residence in Mission Valley. Court records reveal that Schroth communicated with an individual named Jeffrey Allan Mueller in Colorado for the purpose of sharing the sexually explicit videos of the children. The videos of the two minor females produced in Germany as well as several other sexually explicit images involving other minors under 12 produced by Schroth were located on Mueller’s computer in Colorado.

In July 2012, Mueller pled guilty to five counts of production of child pornography and one count of transportation of child pornography. On October 4, 2012, Mueller was sentenced to 40 years federal custody. During the course of the prosecution of both Schroth and Mueller, the government identified at least five additional producers of child pornography, and was able to rescue approximately 35 additional child victims of ongoing sexual abuse who were depicted in images of child pornography.

This case stems from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the San Diego and Denver Field Offices.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC) and the FBI’s Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI), both are nationwide initiatives of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.” The Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI) is a proactive, intelligence driven, multi- agency investigative operation that focuses on combating the proliferation of child pornography/child sexual exploitation (CP/CSE) worldwide. The IINI provides centralized coordination and analysis of case information that by its very nature is both national and international in scope and requires unprecedented coordination between FBI field offices and legal attachés and state, local, and international governments. For more information on the FBI’s IINI, please visit www.fbi.gov.

Defendant in Case Number 12CR0977-WQH
Brandon W. Schroth
Age: 39
San Diego, California

Summary of Charges
Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251 (a) (c) and (e)—sexual exploitation of a child
Maximum penalties: Mandatory minimum 15 years’ incarceration to 30 years per count, $250,000 fine, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and registration as a sex offender.

Title 18, United States Code, Section 2241(c)—aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12
Maximum penalties: Mandatory minimum 30 years’ incarceration up to life per count, $250,000 fine, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and registration as a sex offender.

Investigating Agency
Federal Bureau of Investigation