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Monday, October 24, 2022

Former Department of State Employee Pleads Guilty to Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct in the Philippines

A former U.S. Department of State employee pleaded guilty today to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place.

According to court documents, Dean Edward Cheves, 63, was serving at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines from 2017 to 2021, during which time he met multiple minors over the internet. 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. 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 child sex abuse material that Cheves produced and received of these minors were found on devices seized from Cheves’s embassy residence in the Philippines. Cheves knew the ages of both minors at the time he engaged in the conduct.

Cheves is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 20, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement.

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 and the Homeland Security Investigations Attaché’s Office in the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Trial Attorney Gwendelynn Bills of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Pomerantz Halper and Zoe Bedell for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.

This case is 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.

Updated October 24, 2022