Hobart man sentenced to 12 years in prison for child molesting

A Hobart man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday after he was convicted of touching a preteen girl.

Aaron Seidel, 39, will also serve another four years on sex offender probation.

He was convicted March 6 of two counts of child molesting, both Level 4 felonies. The jury deliberated for less than an hour. He faced up to 24 years.

“I’m glad for the way everything turned out,” the victim said in a letter read by Deputy Prosecutor C.J. Washington. The case made her “very sad” and “very emotional for a really long time,” the girl said.

“I want him to sit in jail for a really long time, like forever,” she wrote.

Her mother, who was in court, “deserves to find someone better (who) deserves her,” the child wrote.

As she read the letter, Washington appeared to cry and took a few moments to regain her composure. Deputy Prosecutor Infinity Westberg finished reading it to the court.

In his own letter, the child’s father wrote the ordeal left a scar on the family that “may never heal.” He was “beyond proud” of his daughter’s resilience, but they were figuring out how life would go from here.

It was as if he was “stabbed in the back,” he said. “I thought I did everything I could do to protect (my kids).”

He thanked Washington and another court staffer for their kindness, noting they had “juice boxes” on standby for his daughter.

Washington asked for 23 years.

She noted Seidel had multiple post-release violations from a federal case where he admitted he went to West Virginia from Illinois in January 2013 to have sex with a 14-year-old teen. The conviction required him to register as a sex offender.

In that case, records show Seidel was sentenced to 51 months, or just over 4 years under the plea deal, for traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

Defense lawyer Joe Roberts said he and his client were in a “very challenging position” since Seidel maintained his innocence in the current case.

He asked Judge Gina Jones for Seidel to avoid prison, noting his client “proved himself” by complying with home detention and electronic monitoring in the case.

Seidel said he was “deeply sorry for this whole situation, for any pain anybody has faced.”

His plan was to move out of Indiana and “never come back.” A relative had offered a job cleaning vacation homes. He wanted to be with his family, saying there was “nothing for me here.”

“I’ve lost everything because of this whole ordeal,” he said. I promise you’ll never see or hear from me again, Seidel added.

Jones said there were no “mitigators,” or factors that might lessen a prison sentence. She found it troubling that he couldn’t do his federal supervised release “successfully.”

The charging affidavit states the victim reported the abuse started in March 2019.

The victim told investigators back then, it was “normal” as Seidel cuddled and hugged her when they watched movies, court records state.

In one incident, he touched her chest and lap and massaged her legs while her mom was at work and her brother was at a concert, according to the affidavit. He touched her inappropriately over her clothes.

Another time, in September 2019, as she was falling asleep, Seidel pulled the child’s pajamas down. She eventually told her brother.

“Honey, please don’t tell anyone about this,” Seidel allegedly told her.