Arizona ‘internet predator’ gets 20 years for exploiting minors

Devon Sharma, a sex offender in Maricopa County, was recently sentenced to a lengthy prison term for child abuse.

CHANDLER, Ariz. – A Chandler man with a history of abusing young women has been sentenced to spend the next 20 years in prison after tricking victims into sending him indecent photos of themselves.

Devon Sharma, 28, was sentenced earlier this month after pleading guilty in Maricopa County court to sex trafficking, pimping and sexually abusing a minor.

According to Chandler police, Sharma presented himself as a woman from a modeling agency online to gain the trust of young women and teenagers.

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When the victims sent Sharma pictures, the defendant blackmailed them for money or sex in exchange for Sharma not posting their pictures online.

Prosecutors have described the accused as an “internet predator” and a “prolific criminal”.

“Young women and teenagers can easily take advantage of internet predators. It takes courage for victims of these crimes to come forward, and the courage shown by the victims in this case has prevented this individual from being exploited in the future,” said County Attorney Rachel Mitchell in a statement.

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Court documents show that Sharma has been the subject of multiple investigations since he was a high school student in Gilbert.

According to the Gilbert Sun News, prosecutors first brought criminal charges against him in 2012 after classmates accused Sharma of groping and groping in the locker room.

Sharma pleaded guilty to minor offenses and was placed on probation for three years. About a year after his probation ended, Sharma was again charged with crimes in Maricopa County.

According to court documents, prosecutors accused him of computer tampering, sex trafficking and extortion in 2018.

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As Sharma pleaded guilty and awaited sentencing in the 2018 case, Chandler police filed additional charges of online exploitation.

Sharma will not face the maximum possible prison term under his latest plea deal with prosecutors.

After his 20-year sentence, Sharma will be placed on lifetime probation and must register as a sex offender.

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