A former US State Department official pleaded guilty today to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country.
According to court documents, Dean Edward Chaves, 63, served at the US Embassy in the Philippines from 2017 to 2021, during which time he met multiple minors online. From December 2020 to March 2021, Cheves communicated online with a then 15-16-year-old Filipino minor, whom he paid to create and send sexually explicit images of minors. Additionally, in February 2021, Cheves engaged in sexual intercourse on two separate occasions with another 16-year-old Filipino minor he met online, using his government-issued cellphone to record himself doing so on at least one of those occasions. opportunity. Child sexual abuse material that Cheves produced and received from these minors was found on devices seized from Cheves’ 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 sentence of 30 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine each sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Pollitt, Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement.
The US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Office of Special Investigations investigated the case with valuable assistance from the DSS Regional Security Office and the Office of the Attaché for Homeland Security Investigations in the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
Trial Attorney Gwendelyn Beals of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Indecency Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Pomerantz Halper and Zoe Bedell for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Ministry of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Division of Child Exploitation and Indecency, Project Safe Childhood directs federal, state, and local resources to better locate, arrest, and prosecute individuals who exploit children online, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit http://vvv.justice.gov/psc.