Former US govt employee pleads guilty to illegal sexual conduct in Philippines

BenarNews staff
2022.10.24
Washington
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Former US govt employee pleads guilty to illegal sexual conduct in Philippines A teenager jumps from a bridge to take a swim in the murky Pasig River as commuters watch, in Manila, Sept. 22, 2017.
[Bullit Marquez/AP]

A former United States government employee pleaded guilty on Monday to illicit sexual conduct while serving at the nation’s embassy in the Philippines from 2017 to 2021, U.S. justice officials said.

Dean Edward Cheves, 63, who will be sentenced on Jan. 20, next year, faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison on each count, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

“From December 2020 to March 2021, Cheves communicated online with a then 15 to 16-year-old Philippine minor, who he paid to produce and send to him sexually explicit images of the minor,” the statement said citing court documents.

“Additionally, in February 2021, Cheves engaged in sex acts on two separate occasions with a second 16-year-old Philippine minor who he met online, using his government-issued cell phone to film himself doing so on at least one of those occasions,” the statement added.

Cheves knew the ages of both minors when he engaged with them, the department said. Authorities found the child sex abuse material that Cheves produced and received of these minors on devices seized from his embassy residence in the Philippines, the department added.

According to an August 2021 statement from the Justice Department, Cheves is charged with one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one count of possessing child pornography in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or on lands owned or leased by the United States.

In August last year, the Philippine state news agency reported that a Philippine trial court had issued an arrest warrant for Cheves for violating the country’s child abuse and anti-pornography laws.

Philippine Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Aug. 12, 2021, that Cheves had been sent back to the U.S. in March that year.

The case against Cheves is being prosecuted at a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

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