Tuesday, October 26, 2021

PNP initiates probe vs US Foreign Service member

THE Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) safeguarded a 16-year-old Filipina and led the investigation on a member of the US Foreign Service.

On August 3, 2021, the US Department of Justice announced a grand jury indictment against Dean Edward Cheves for engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor while serving in the Philippines.

The investigation was initiated by PNP-WCPC on February 23, 2021, after a complaint was made by a school official. (The name of the school has been withheld to protect the safety of the victims, students, and staff.)

On that same day, law enforcements from the PNP-WCPC Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Division (AVAWCD) led by Colonel Joy E. Tomboc, under the direct supervision of Brigadier General Alessandro Abella, chief of the WCPC, along with social workers of Taguig City Municipal Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) and staff from the school, urgently took steps to identify and safeguard the minor victim.

Police successfully located and found the victim and identified another minor (also a Filipina) who was likewise being groomed for sexual abuse.

With the assistance of Taguig CSWDO, safety plans were immediately put in place to prevent any further harm to the victim or any potential harm to the second minor.

The WCPC team, along with assistance from the PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), was able to seize and examine a cellular device, which contained evidence of the crimes.

During the digital forensic examination of the evidence, and while conducting interviews of the victim, it was discovered that an additional suspect, a 30-year-old male Spanish national, had also engaged in crimes in illicit sexual activities with the victim and the investigation expanded to include this additional suspect.

US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was notified by WCPC on February 26, 2021 of an ongoing investigation involving a US Foreign Service member.

On March 12, 2021, charges for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7610, or the "Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act," and RA 9775, or the "Anti-Child Pornography Act," were filed against the Spanish national.

Due to hesitancy of the victim to appear and testify, charges could not be filed against Cheves until June 10, 2021. At which point, charges were filed for violations of RA 7610 and RA 9775.

Because of the collective efforts, diligence, and local and international coordination by PNP-WCPC, Cheves was arrested on July 6, 2021 in the US after an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of State.

"This investigation speaks to the level of professionalism in our PNP-WCPC team, and to the importance of international collaboration and partnerships. We commend the school involved in this matter for immediately notifying a law enforcement professional of the issue when it was brought to their attention and for placing an emphasis on the safety of their students. Likewise, we welcome the news of the arrest of the US Foreign Service staff member and appreciate the US Department of Justice's collective efforts to ensure he is held accountable for preying on Filipina children. WCPC will always work tirelessly to protect and safeguard the future of our nation -- which is our children," said Abella.

The WCPC runs a 24-hour Facebook page helpline where people can report online sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Visit and report at AlengPulis Facebook page: (PR)


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