A Columbia University student who worked to protect children from sexual violence has been accused of being a sexual predator.
Joel Davis, 22, was arrested in New York City on Tuesday for allegedly exchanging explicit photos and text messages with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as the parent of two young children. Davis allegedly told the officer he wanted to engage in sexual acts with the officer's daughters, ages 2 and 9, according to the US Attorney’s Office in New York.
Davis also allegedly sent explicit photos of adults molesting children and toddlers to the officer. The texts were exchanged over the course of a few weeks in June 2018.
Davis told the undercover officer that he was sexually interested in children of all ages — despite years of lauded work to protect them.
Davis is the founding executive director of the Youth to End Sexual Violence program, which he founded in 2014. He was also on the steering committee of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.
“The Campaign will demand urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and call for justice for all —including effective prosecution of those responsible,” the organization’s website states.
WBBH in Fort Myers, Florida reported in 2015 that Davis, then just 19, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But it was unclear who nominated him and the article only cited Davis as its source for the news.
“Having started an organization that pushed for the end of sexual violence, Davis displayed the highest degree of hypocrisy by his alleged attempts to sexually exploit multiple minors,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. “As if this wasn’t repulsive enough, Davis allegedly possessed and distributed utterly explicit images of innocent infants and toddlers being sexually abused by adults.”
Davis has been arrested on charges of possession, receipt, and distribution of child pornography, enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. The enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity charge alone could result in life in prison for Davis. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. the attempted sexual exploitation carries a minimum term of 15 years and the possession of child pornography carries a minimum of five years behind bars.