Child sex offender gets life imprisonment for human trafficking

An American child sex offender was sentenced to life after he was found guilty of 3 counts of “large-scale qualified trafficking in persons” by a Pampanga court on Tuesday, May 26.

David Timothy Deakin, 55, is the first foreigner to be convicted of trafficking offenses through online proceedings in the Philippines, according to the International Justice Mission (IJM).

Apart from life imprisonment, Deakin also has to pay a fine of P2 million. He was also ordered to pay each victim the amount of P500,000 representing moral damages, and an additional P100,000 as exemplary damages as civil indemnity for his crimes.

Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr rendered the decision through video conferencing from Branch 58 of the Regional Trial Court in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Who is Deakin?

On April 27, 2017, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Deakin in his rented house in Angeles City. The law enforcers found in his house hard drives containing child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM), sex toys, and drug-use paraphernalia.

During the raid, a report from Inquirer.net said the NBI also rescued two girls, aged 9 and 11, who stayed at his house.

Other reports say Deakin also had children’s underwear, toddler shoes, cameras, bondage cuffs, and fetish ropes scattered around the house.

A referral from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Deakin was sexually abusing Filipino children, recording the abuse, and selling it to foreign customers online.

In 2019, Deakin was sentenced by a San Fernando court to two years in prison for his possession of CSEM. However, he was acquitted of cybersex charges.

Conviction amid pandemic 'inspiring'

The coronavirus pandemic has left courts on limited operations, though some hearings pushed through via video conferencing. (READ: Pilot courts nationwide can now do virtual hearings for all matters)

“To behold this e-conviction of a high-profile criminal in the middle of a pandemic is so inspiring,” said Kathleen Piccio Labay, senior lead lawyer for prosecution development from IJM’s Manila office. 

“The journey we had to take to ensure David Timothy Deakin's accountability was fraught with so many legal challenges and in the process of securing justice for the victim-survivors, caseworkers from the law enforcement, social services and prosecution teams have been exposed to hundreds of traumatic child sexual exploitation materials but in the end, righteousness prevailed,” Labay added.

IJM said that it has taken care of 8 of Deakin’s victims who are currently “on the road to recovery and restoration.”

Upon hearing about Deakin’s sentence, IJM said one of the victim-survivors said, “Magandang balita po yan. Mabuti naman at wala na siyang mabibiktima. Salamat sa Diyos.”

(That’s great news. It’s good he won’t be able to victimize anyone anymore. Thank God.)

“More than ever, our justice system should continue to work to protect vulnerable children who are unsafe during the lockdown, and that criminals are made to account for their crimes. We commend the Philippine courts for their relentless work amidst a pandemic,” said IJM national director Samson Inocencio Jr.

The Philippines has been named a global hotspot for online child sexual exploitation (OSEC), with OSEC cases tripling from 2014-2017. 

This comes even though the country is at Tier 1 of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report since 2015, which means it meets the minimum standards for eliminating human trafficking. (READ: Stolen: Pretty Girls)

To report cases of human trafficking, call 1343 for Metro Manila or (02) 1343 for outside Metro Manila. – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.

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