Arizona Man Responsible for Exploiting Minors Over the Internet now Behind Bars

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell (R) announced Friday that Devon Ray Sharma, 28, of Chandler, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the sexual exploitation of minors over the internet.

“Young women and teenagers can be easily exploited by internet predators. It takes courage for victims of these crimes to come forward and the bravery demonstrated by the victims in this case has prevented future acts of exploitation by this individual,” said Mitchell in a press release.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) considers Sharma a prolific offender, defined as someone charged with multiple previous offenses. In September, Sharma pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of sex trafficking, and one count of pandering. His sentencing holds the maximum punishment available under his plea deal. Upon release, Sharma will be on probation for life and must register as a sex offender.

The Arizona Sun Times reached out to the MCAO for additional information but could not get an answer before publishing time.

As reported by Gilbert Sun News, Sharma’s history of exploitation began in 2011 when he was disciplined for sending sexually explicit messages to female classmates at Mesquite High School. By 18, he had groped multiple underaged girls at his school, claiming he was studying to become a massage therapist and needed to practice.

The girls told the authorities, and Sharma faced multiple felonies and a lengthy prison sentence but only received a three-year probation sentence because his family convinced court officials this behavior was uncharacteristic. One year into his probation, Sharma’s officer asked his probation to be terminated early for good behavior, which was granted in 2015.

However, Sharma’s crimes did not end; he even committed offenses during this timeframe. ABC 15 shared a specific example, which lasted from 2013 to 2016. Sharma used a fake Facebook profile under the name “John Clark” to contact one of his coworkers. “Clark” began talking with the victim and eventually asked for sexually explicit photos. In 2016, Sharma sent the victim a Facebook message saying he found the pictures of her on the “Dark Web” and offered to remove them for a price. When the victim could not pay, she contacted “Clark,” who said he would take down the pictures if she sent him multiple videos of herself having intercourse with Sharma. For one of these videos, she met with him and sent “Clark” a message but noticed it was received on Sharma’s phone, leading to his arrest in March of that year.

Despite this, Sharma was still offered a light sentence in a plea deal. Yet, that was not even the end of Sharma’s crimes.

According to the MCAO, a Chandler Police investigation found Sharma had continued his scheme of contacting girls on social media under a fake alias between 2016 and 2020. He would request exploitative pictures from the girls before threatening to share the photos on the internet if the girl did not send him a large sum of money or have sex with him. These crimes led to his newest sentencing.

The MACO encourages any families with children who have been exploited in this way to file a report with local law enforcement and CyberTipLine. The county said it is also essential for parents to teach their children about internet safety and warn them about the dangers of sharing personal information online.

As reported by the Arizona Sun Times, Mitchell recently celebrated the enactment of “Kayleigh’s Law,” which helps ensure victims of abuse cannot be contacted by their abuser, even if their lifetime parole sentence ends early.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Courtroom” by Clyde Robinson. CC BY 2.0.


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