Joel Davis was arrested in June 2018 after an undercover sting conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a part of Project Safe Childhood. Davis was charged with enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, and possession, receipt, and distribution of child pornography.
“Joel Davis started an organization devoted to stopping sexual violence, while allegedly engaged in the duplicitous behavior of sharing explicit images of infants engaged in sexual activity,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Davis also allegedly solicited an undercover officer – whom he thought to be a willing participant – to send sexually explicit videos of his nine-year-old daughter, and even to set up a sexual encounter between himself and a two-year-old. The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening, and as this case demonstrates, law enforcement will keep its watchful eye on the darkest corners of the internet to bring predators to justice.”
“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 the 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."
According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Davis spoke with undercover agents online for several weeks in June where he stated he was "sexually interested in children of all ages." Davis is additionally accused of detailing tot he agent the "explicit sexual activity that he intended to engage in" with the imagined 9 and 2 year old children.
Davis, a former student of Columbia University told the student paper in 2017 that he had been the victim of rape when he was a 10 year old. He said that the abuse he suffered changed his approach to future relationships.
In a statement released Thursday the 16th by the Department of Justice, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that Davis has pleaded guilty to enticing a child to engage in illegal sexual activity, possession of child pornography, and distribution and receipt of child pornography. The charge for attempted sexual exploitation of a minor appears to have been dropped.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 7th at 10 am by Judge Daniels.
“As he admitted today, Joel Davis arranged to meet a 15-year-old boy for sex, and engaged in illegal sexual activity with the 15-year-old," Berman said in the statement. "He also possessed child pornography that included children under the age of 12. Davis rightly faces a lengthy prison sentence for victimizing children.”
Sentencing for the single charge of enticing a minor alone carries a minimum of 10 years with the possibility of a life. Possession of child pornography carries with it a minimum of a five year sentence with a maximum of 20; the charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.