US diplomat charged for sex with minor Pinay

August 5, 2021 Cristina Lee-Pisco 775 views

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted a US diplomat previously assigned in the Philippines for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and possession of child pornography, the US Department of Justice said.

According to the indictment and court documents, Dean Cheves, 61, was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service serving in the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines between September 2020 and February 2021.

While in the Philippines, Cheves allegedly met a 16-year-old online.

Court documents further detail that Cheves allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the minor on two occasions, knowing the minor’s age, and produced cell phone videos of himself engaging in the sex acts each time.

The videos were found on Cheves’s devices seized from his embassy residence while in the Philippines.

Between February 2021 and March 2021, he also allegedly possessed child pornography.

Cheves is charged with one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one 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.

On July 6, Cheves made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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.

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, Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement and Assistant Director for Domestic Operations Mark Sullo of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service made the announcement.

The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Gwendelynn Bills of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Pomerantz Halper of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia 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.

DICT hit for failing to create contract tracing portal, vaccination database

A party-list solon lamented the failure of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to create a national contract tracing portal and vaccination database.

Ang Probinsiyano Party-list Representative . Ronnie Ong said the lack of reliable and fast contact tracing tools is one of the reasons why the national government is resorting to placing some areas under the strict quarantine protocol.

According to Ong, a reliable database and contact tracing portal would allow real-time verification of fully vaccinated individuals as well as quick identification and tracking down of potential carriers and spreaders.

“No amount of enhanced community quarantines can defeat the spread of the Covid-19 virus if the government is not equipped with the right tools to quickly identify and track down potential carriers and spreaders,” Ong said.

Ong lamented that Congress moved for the creation of the DICT so that the government can have a separate body that would focus on the country’s information technology requirement but it has remained practically invisible since its creation in 2016.

He noted that the ongoing health crisis could have been an opportunity for the DICT to demonstrate its capabilities in information and resource-sharing and database-building but after more than two years into the pandemic, it has yet to create a reliable and verifiable contact tracing and vaccination portal.

This portal could have given the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) easier access to all the data needed to monitor and trace individuals who are possible Covid-19 carriers and at the same time provide a real-time verification for people who are already fully vaccinated.

“ Nakakalungkot kasi ginawa ng Congress ang DICT para sa mga ganitong mga pangangailangan. We have the national data center so that we can create, collect and use these very important information in our fight against Covid. I’m really sorry to say pero hindi talaga nararamdaman ng publiko ang DICT. Parang wala tayong ahensya na ganito,” Ong said.

Ong lamented that even the online contact tracing portal “Stay Safe” is totally useless because it is not obviously connected to a system which automatically tracks down possible incidents of close contacts with suspected carriers.

The solon also observed that there are certain establishments that utilize their own contact tracing apps which also makes it impossible for the IATF to determine possible incidents of Covid infection. Even worse are establishments using logbooks that do not even require their clients to show their identification cards.

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