Former Department of State Employee Sentenced for Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct with Minors in the Philippines
On Friday, March 17, 2023, the following press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Virginia.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former U.S. Department of State employee was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place.
According to court documents, Dean Edward Cheves, 63, served at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines from 2017 to 2021. From December 2020 to March 2021, Cheves used a messaging application installed on his cell phone to chat with a 15- to 16-year-old Philippine minor, whom he paid to create and send to him sexually explicit images of the minor. Additionally, in February 2021, Cheves engaged in sex acts on two separate occasions with another 16-year-old Philippine minor, whom he met online. Cheves used his government-issued cell phone to film the sex acts on at least one of those occasions. The child sex abuse material that Cheves produced was found on the phone after it was seized from Cheves’ embassy residence in the Philippines. Cheves knew the ages of both minors at the time he engaged in the conduct.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Office of Special Investigations investigated the case with valuable assistance provided by the DSS Regional Security Office, Homeland Security Investigations Attaché’s Office in the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Pomerantz Halper and Zoe Bedell for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney Gwendelynn Bills for the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:21-cr-177.
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