Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Howard was sentenced late Friday to 30 days in the brig, forfeiture of $500 of pay for three months and a reduction in rank to petty officer second class, according to Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
During a court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk, Navy prosecutors said Howard used a text messaging app that created a fake phone number. Prosecutors said he then sent text messages pretending to be a female dietitian hired by Naval Special Warfare Development Group.
Howard’s civilian defense attorney, Michael Waddington, noted throughout the case that no nude photographs were ever found on any of Howard’s devices. Waddington suggested that other SEALs in the Virginia Beach-based command could’ve been the real culprit.
Howard was originally charged with receiving nude photographs, but those charges were dismissed.
Howard joined the Navy in 2004 and started training to be a SEAL after serving for a couple of years aboard the frigate USS John Hall.
He served as a SEAL in San Diego and Virginia Beach before being selected to join Naval Special Warfare Development Group, which is often referred to as SEAL Team 6 or DEVGRU.
In 2016, he was selected as the command’s sailor of the year. He’s also received a Bronze Star with Valor device for action in combat.
During the sentencing phase, Howard indicated he needed medical care for post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss and traumatic brain injury, according to Navy Times.
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