An American was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for sexually exploiting Filipino children by selling videos, photos, and live streams to buyers abroad.
David Timothy Deakin was declared guilty of human trafficking and sentenced him to life imprisonment by Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. of the regional trial court in Pampanga province.
Deakin is also ordered to pay fines and repay his victims. The court’s ruling was released online on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.
“They could not hide even if they commit sexual exploitation crimes in cyberspace because law enforcers are collaborating worldwide to catch them,” said the National Bureau of Investigation official Janet Francisco.
She also said Deakin’s conviction should convey a strong warning against offenders exploiting Filipino children online.
American convicted for sexually exploiting Filipino children online
Authorities arrested Deakin in Mabalacat City, Pampanga on April 2017 through the help of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Francisco said. Associated Press journalists witnessed how the police raided Deakin’s apartment near a red-light district in the said city.
Francisco, who chairs an anti-human trafficking force, said they seized the largest amount of digital evidence related to online sexual exploitation of children in the country so far from Deakin.
NBI agents found children’s underwear, toddler shoes, fetish ropes, meth pipes, bondage cuffs, cameras, and many hard drives and photo albums in the sex offender’s two-bedroom apartment.
David Deakin was from Peoria, Illinois, and lived in the Philippines since 2000. He, however, denied in an AP interview that he made videos of children.
International Justice Mission, a Washington, D.C.-based private group, said one of the victims is happy with Deakin’s conviction “because he won’t be able to victimize anyone anymore.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday that the number of reported online sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines soared by 260 percent during the lockdown.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a non-profit corporation, recorded 279,166 reports from March 1 to May 24, 2020, according to DOJ. NCMEC operates the CyberTipline Report (CTR), which is a hotline for cases of online exploitation of children.
The DOJ explained the increase could have been caused by the surge of internet users after more than 50 million people in the Philippines were locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.