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Anchorage motivational speaker now faces federal child pornography charges

A motivational speaker from Anchorage who was arrested in February on allegations that he sexually abused a minor is now facing federal child pornography charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

Donteh Devoe was arrested Feb. 13, 2020 for sexual abuse of a minor. (Photo provided by APD)

Donteh Mone Devoe, 41, traveled around the state for the last several years as a motivational speaker and talked with youths — including students in the Anchorage School District — about overcoming a past of crime and incarceration, according to a statement Thursday from federal prosecutors. Devoe was sentenced in 2009 to spend a decade in prison for selling drugs.

He was once again placed behind bars in February.

Anchorage police received a tip in late January that Devoe had an ongoing sexual relationship with a minor, according to federal prosecutors. Officers later found sexually explicit messages involving the minor on Devoe’s phone and iCloud account from fall 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He’s facing eight state felony charges related to the sexual abuse allegations.

In May, federal prosecutors filed charges related to child pornography possession against Devoe. The federal charges stem from the state investigation. He was indicted Thursday on two counts of production of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of coercion and enticement of a minor, federal prosecutors said.

As a motivational speaker, Devoe traveled to schools around the state and country, appearing everywhere from village schools to a conference for Alaska school principals to a Christian school in Montana.

Devoe spoke at 10 elementary schools and two secondary schools within the Anchorage School District during 2019 and early 2020, district spokesman Alan Brown said Thursday. Devoe was accompanied by staff during his visits and was never allowed to meet with students alone, which Brown said is standard protocol for guests in the schools.

Devoe was not an employee at the district, but instead was contracted on an individual basis to do motivational speaking by the schools or other organizations, like the Parent Teacher Organization, Brown said.

Contractors with the school do not undergo formal background checks, as employees do. Brown said the school was aware of Devoe’s earlier crimes because it was the nature of his speeches, but the district believed there could be value to students from hearing about Devoe’s struggles.

“There’s a lot to be said for sharing those real world, challenging situations and allowing kids to learn through folks who have made those mistakes in hopes that they don’t then make the same mistakes,” Brown said.

Anchorage police previously said they believed there could be additional victims due to Devoe’s close contact with children. Renee Oistad, a spokeswoman for the department, said by email Thursday that anyone with information about Devoe’s activities is asked to contact the FBI at 907-276-4441.

“We would not talk about additional victims unless additional charges had been filed,” she said. “There have been no additional charges at this time.”

Neither the federal nor state charges stem from Devoe’s position as a motivational speaker.

“Based on what we know of the charges and the investigation, we are confident that his arrest was not related to his capacity as a motivational speaker in our schools and that no other children were involved,” Brown said.

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