What to Know
A New York man who helps run a group to raise awareness about sex abuse of children is himself accused of child sex abuse
Federal prosecutors say Joel Davis had child porn, and he tried to get access to children as young as 2 years old for sex
Davis’ social media pages say he was involved in with an organization called Youth To End Sexual Violence and other advocacy groups
A Columbia University student who helps run a group to raise awareness about sex abuse of children was himself arrested Tuesday on child sex abuse charges.
Federal prosecutors said Joel Davis was caught in possession of explicit child sex images and that he had attempted to get access to children as young as 2 years old for sex.
The FBI said Davis exchanged texts with an undercover agent saying he wanted to have sex with a 9-year-old and 2-year-old. The criminal complaint alleged Davis boasted of having sexually abused children in the past including a 9-month-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old-boy.
Davis allegedly told the undercover that if he could meet the man’s 8-year-old daughter, he would perform oral sex on her. Davis also allegedly sent explicit photos of young children to the undercover.
"Joel Davis started an organization devoted to stopping sexual violence, while allegedly engaged in the duplicitous behavior of sharing explicit images of infants," said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. "The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening."
A lawyer or family representative for Davis could not be reached for comment.
Davis’ LinkedIn and Facebook pages state he was involved in with an organization called Youth To End Sexual Violence and other advocacy groups. Social media pages also state he attended numerous schools, including Columbia University. A university spokesman did not return emails seeking confirmation of his enrollment.
The Columbia spectator, the Ivy League school's student newspaper, identified him as a general studies student; there is also an entry for a Joel Davis in the student directory.
A story done by a TV news station in his native Florida aired Davis’ claim that he had been nominated for a Nobel prize for his advocacy work in 2015. An initial search of the Nobel online archives of nominations did not show a record of such a nomination.
After his arrest, officials said Davis admitted to sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in the past and keeping child porn images on his phone. He allegedly said he likes to exchange images of infants and toddlers with others.
He appeared in federal court on the charges late Tuesday and was ordered held without bail, a U.S. attorney spokesman said.