MANILA — An officer at the US Embassy in the Philippines has been indicted by a Virginia court after it was discovered he "engaged in sexual activity" with a Filipina minor and "produced cell phone videos" of the acts each time.
The United States Department of Justice identified the perpetrator as Dean Cheves, 61, a member of the US Foreign Service at the US Embassy in the Philippines, serving between September 2020 and February 2021.
The federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia charged Cheves with 1 count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and 1 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 a press release, the US DOJ said Cheves allegedly met the 16-year-old Filipina online. Court documents detailed that Cheves allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the minor twice, "knowing the minor’s age."
The videos of the acts were found on Cheves' devices seized from his embassy residence while in the Philippines.
Between February 2021 and March 2021, he also allegedly possessed child pornography.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison on count one, and up to 10 years in prison on count two.
The number of recorded online sexual exploitation cases among children in the Philippines continues to rise despite the pandemic, and one of its youngest victims was a barely-month-old baby, the Philippine Department of Justice’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking said earlier this year.
— report from Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News