THE Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) is studying possible courses of action against an American diplomat recently indicted for engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and possessing child pornography while stationed in the country.
“We’re still gathering a lot of information. Then we’ll evaluate and make our move,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday, August 10.
Previously, the DOJ announced that it is coordinating with the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the case of 61-year-old Dean Cheves, who served at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines between September 2020 and February 2021.
“The DOJ is coordinating with the DFA on relevant legal issues such as diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention and territorial jurisdiction. Assuming that these issues have been clarified, we shall proceed to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Justice under the umbrella of the RP-U.S. mutual legal assistance treaty,” Guevarra said Monday, August 9.
Cheves was indicted by a Virginia court for sexual relations with a 16-year-old whom he met online.
Court documents detailed 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 reportedly found on Cheves’s devices seized from his embassy residence while in the Philippines.
He also allegedly possessed child pornography between February to March 2021.
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 U.S. or on lands owned or leased by the U.S.
According to Gueverra, Cheves may also “be held criminally and civilly liable in the country” for child abuse, child pornography, human trafficking, and the Revised Penal Code.
“Mr. Cheves may be extradited to the Philippines once he is charged under any or all of the aforementioned laws, subject to the provisions of our extradition treaty with the U.S.,” he said. (AJPress)