A California man was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in federal prison for abducting and sexually abusing an Oregon girl he had met online.
U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Deven R. Dearing, 26, to 15 years and seven months in prison. He will face a lifetime of federal supervision after completing his prison term.
Dearing, who worked as a certified emergency medical technician and safety officer on a drilling platform off the California coast, “targeted a vulnerable minor” and essentially hunted for girls as young as 12 from multiple states, Assistant U.S. Attorney William McLaren wrote in a sentencing memo.
Starting in June 2020, Dearing used the social media chat website Omegle and then Instagram to chat with and charm the girl, then in her mid-teens, convincing her to take sexually explicit and nude photos and videos of herself and send them to him, according to McLaren. Daring at the time was 23.
On Aug. 20, 2020, he drove more than 600 miles to Oregon from central California to pick her up and sent multiple messages to her on the way telling her of his plans to sexually abuse her and of the “rules” she had to follow or face punishment, according to the prosecutor.
As a potential punishment, he threatened to get her pregnant, adding, “if you do something stupid then we put that one up for adoption and I get you pregnant again,” according to court records.
In the hours after he picked her up, he removed her phone’s SIM card and took her to a hotel room in Oregon to have sex with her before driving her back to California with him, according to the prosecutor.
The girl’s family reported her missing shortly after Dearing abducted her.
Multiple law enforcement agencies discovered the girl’s social media exchanges with Dearing and authorities tracked him to the Sacramento area.
Dearing sexually abused the girl over the course of a week at his house, according to McLaren.
On Aug. 29, 2020, FBI agents contacted Dearing and interviewed him as they continued to search for the missing girl.
The same day, she walked into a police station in Merced, California, and initially told police she had run away from home, slept on benches and had hitchhiked to California, McLaren said. Later, she admitted that Dearing had told her to lie and she described how Dearing convinced her to leave the Oregon with him.
Dearing pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
“Dearing acknowledges his guilt and realizes that he made an awful mistake,” defense lawyer Kurt David Hermansen, an assistant federal public defender, wrote to the judge.
Dearing agreed to the lengthy sentence as part of a global resolution involving other related pending criminal charges in both Benton County in Oregon and Mariposa County, California.
Dearing’s lawyer urged the court to recommend that Dearing serve the term at the federal prison in Englewood, California, to allow visits with his family and for sex offender treatment.
FBI agents in Eugene and California worked with Corvallis police, the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team and the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team to investigate the girl’s disappearance and locate her.