EUGENE, Oregon (KSEE/KGPE) – A 26-year-old man from Mariposa was sentenced to over 15 years in federal prison on Thursday after federal prosecutors say he abducted and sexually abused a girl from Oregon who he had met online.

According to the Department of Justice, Deven Richard Dearing pleaded guilty in April 2021 to sexual exploitation of a child and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He was sentenced on Thursday to 187 months in federal prison, followed by a life term of supervised release.

According to court documents, the unidentified girl from Oregon was reported missing by her family in August 2020. Investigators soon discovered social media messages between her and Dearing. FBI agents contacted Dearing on August 29, 2020, about the online interactions – and on the same day the missing girl walked into the Merced County Sheriff’s Office in Merced and told deputies she had run away from home.

Investigators established that the pair had started communicating online in June 2020 and that Dearing knew that the girl was underage. On August 20, he drove to her home in Oregon and then took her to a hotel where court records state that he sexually abused her and later transported her to California where the abuse continued for more than a week. Dearing eventually agreed to drop the minor off at a local police station.

Dearing was charged in criminal court on January 25, 2021, and pleaded guilty to charges of sexual exploitation of a child and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity on September 15, 2022.