This photograph of Jennifer Dempsey is the one she posted to Facebook, police said. (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
Booking photo (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A woman who portrayed herself online as a 16-year-old girl who was pregnant was arrested Thursday for engaging in sex acts with teenage boys, Phoenix police said.
Jennifer Dempsey, 35, is accused of contacting 14-year-old to 16-year-old boys she did not know through Facebook and then meeting them for sex acts, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said.
Dempsey told both victims she was pregnant and attended a meeting with one of the victim's parents, Crump said.
Crump also said for the past five years, Dempsey convinced her family she had cancer. She shaved her head, bought wigs and had a fake chemotherapy port taped to her chest to make it appear real, Crump said.
Police detectives discovered Dempsey did not have cancer, but used the claim to help avoid arrest.
"She used her cancer ploy to our detectives to try and stay out of trouble," said Crump. "She said this is the reason why she didn't engage in the sexual conduct because she was constantly ill from chemotherapy, all of which we learned in the following days, was not true."
CBS5 News spoke to several of Dempsey's neighbors who said that they would see her with a tube on her chest and assumed she was fighting cancer.
"It was my belief that she was very, very ill," said Carolyn Chavez, the office manager at Dempsey's condominium complex. "She wore a tube all the time. We've had other residents with cancer and I thought she fit the profile."
"It really is shocking," said neighbor Elizabeth Slipek.
"I can't believe somebody would go to great lengths to go to something like that. It's ridiculous, especially as an adult. We look up to adults. We're teenagers ourselves and for somebody to do something like that, it's not the best thing to hear," she continued.
During the investigation, police said they recovered incriminating text messages that led to her arrest. Dempsey admitted she had sex with the older victim, but denied sexual activity with the younger boy, although she did make statements that corroborate the charges, Crump added.
Police served a search warrant on her home, which produced several pieces of evidence.
Crump said the police investigation started after the parents of one of the teenagers came forward.
According to police, the parents had met Dempsey and didn't believe she was 16-years-old. The parents also found nude photos being exchanged with their son, police said.
Dempsey was booked into jail on several counts of sexual conduct with a minor.
Police said there is concern the conduct may have been going on for some time.
People with information related to the case are asked to contact the Phoenix Police Department's Family Investigation Bureau at 602-534-2121 or Silent Witness.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
PD: AZ woman has sex with teens, fakes cancer to avoid arrestMore>>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:23 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:23:41 GMT
The National Weather Service says there is a slight risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.The threat for severe weather will continue into Monday.StormsMore >
The National Weather Service said there is a moderate risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:52 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:52:00 GMT
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.She is recovering at Children's Mercy Hospital with a broken arm, ruptured ear drum and fractured pelvis. Her family isMore >
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 6:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:47:09 GMT
Imagine suffering a medical emergency in a foreign country, half a world away. It happened to a man from Overland Park, KS, in Japan. Now, his family is trying to come up with a way to get him home whereMore >
An Overland Park family is trying to raise enough money to get their son back to the U.S. from Japan after he suffered a massive stroke in the other country.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:20:10 GMT
The Rachael Ray show flew to New York a puppy that survived a month inside a locked car at Kansas City's tow lot.Ray and guest co-host Regis Philbin fawned over Kia, who was accompanied by Tori Fugate,More >
Television hosts Rachael Ray and Regis Philbin fawned this week over a puppy rescued earlier this month after living nearly a month inside a locked vehicle at Kansas City's municipal impound lot.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 3:19 PM EDT2013-05-18 19:19:04 GMT
A Kansas City woman behind a new youth literacy program celebrated a milestone Friday night and none too soon. Jean Rundle is suffering from a heart condition and in quickly declining health. She neverMore >
A Kansas City woman behind a new youth literacy program celebrated a milestone Friday night and none too soon.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:11 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:11:46 GMT
Students from a suburban Kansas City school district will be nearly 600 pounds lighter when they return Friday from the spring semester at a weight-loss boarding school in South Carolina. That amountMore >
Students from the Independence School District were 600 pounds lighter when they returned Friday from the spring semester at a weight-loss boarding school in South Carolina.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 12:47 AM EDT2013-05-18 04:47:49 GMT
For the first time, the University of Kansas awarded two Wounded Warrior Scholarships. The money, of $10,000/year for up to four years, goes to students who are injured veterans or caretakers of injuredMore >
A young marine from Kansas City, KS, was one of two recipients of the University of Kansas' new Wounded Warrior Scholarship.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 2:21 PM EDT2013-05-17 18:21:35 GMT
A woman is in custody after she allegedly struck her father in the head with a pistol, Overland Park police said Friday.The woman, who is in her middle 20s, was taken into custody about 11 a.m. This wasMore >
A woman is in custody after she allegedly struck her father in the head with a pistol, Overland Park police said Friday.More >