MANILA – A warrant of arrest has been issued by the Pasay Regional Trial Court against Dean Edward Cheves, who served at the United States Embassy in Manila, for allegedly having sex with a minor during his posting in the Philippines.
Judge Christian Castañeda of Branch 109 signed the warrant on Aug. 23 and directed law enforcement agents to arrest Cheves, 61, for violation of Republic Acts 7610 (child abuse law) and 9775 (anti-child pornography law).
A bail of PHP200,000 was recommended for each case.
Cheves had been sent back to the US in March 2021, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra in an interview on Aug. 12.
He said the DOJ and Department of Foreign Affairs are coordinating 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 US Department of Justice under the umbrella of the Philippines-US mutual legal assistance treaty," Guevarra said in a previous interview.
A federal grand jury at the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Cheves on Aug. 3 for sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl, whom he allegedly met online. He had served at the US Embassy in Manila between September 2020 and February 2021.
"Court documents further 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 US DOJ said in a statement, adding that if convicted, the suspect will be handed the maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison on count one and up to 10 years in prison on count two.
The videos were reportedly found on Cheves’ devices seized from his embassy-provided residence while in the Philippines.
Cheves was 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 US or on lands owned or leased by the US. (PNA)