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Press Release

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

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former Department of State employee pleaded guilty today to two counts of 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 the sex acts on at least one occasion. The child sex abuse material Cheves produced and received of these minors was 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 January 20, 2023. He faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison on each count. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea.

The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) investigated the case with valuable assistance provided by the Homeland Security Investigations Attaché’s Office in the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Pomerantz Halper and Zoe Bedell and Trial Attorney Gwendelynn Bills of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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

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.

Updated April 19, 2023

Project Safe Childhood