A former Navy officer and physician’s assistant who videotaped and photographed  sexual encounters with minors in Germany and elsewhere was sentenced in federal court in San Diego Tuesday to 40 years in prison.

Brandon W. Schroth, 40, pleaded guilty in November 2012 to a dozen felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12.

“Your actions have placed the victims in their own private jail, with no release date,” U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes told the defendant.

Hayes also ordered Schroth to register as a sex offender and pay $144,435 in restitution to the victims for past and future therapy and counseling.

“The darkest of demons do not commit their crimes wearing ski masks and carrying guns,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden told the court. “The darkest of demons manipulate their way into your home and attack your children … all for their own sexual gratification.”

In December 2010, Schroth flew from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany, to engage in sexual explicit conduct with a minor for the purpose of producing sexually explicit videos, according to court documents.

While in Germany, the defendant stayed with a then-active duty Air Force member and the mother of two girls, ages 9 and 11.

After Schroth returned to the United States, he took sexually explicit photos of a then-9-year-old girl at his residence in Mission Valley, according to court records.

Court records show that Schroth communicated with a man named Jeffrey Allan Mueller in Colorado for the purposes of sharing sexually explicit videos of children. Videos that Schroth supplied of the two girls in Germany, as well as several other sexually explicit images involving other minors, were found on Mueller’s computer, prosecutors said.

In July 2012, Mueller pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and three months later was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.

During the prosecutions of Schroth and Mueller, authorities identified at least five additional producers of child pornography and were able to rescue about 35 additional child victims of ongoing sexual abuse who were depicted in child porn, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.