22-Year-Old Ivy League Student Known for Fighting Against Sexual Violence is Charged With Child Sex Crimes

For a 22-year-old Columbia University student, Joel Davis had built an impressive reputation as an activist for ending sexual violence.

He was the founding executive director of the international organization Youth to End Sexual Violence. He served as a youth ambassador for the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict. He was on the steering committee of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, a group of more than 5,000 human rights organizations and experts worldwide.

Davis traveled around the world, worked alongside high-profile activists such as Angelina Jolie, delivered a TED talk and appeared on media panels. In 2015, at age 19, he claimed to have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

His work focused particularly on ending sexual violence against the most vulnerable victims: children.

Yet behind this virtuous front, Davis was allegedly committing the same types of crimes he claimed to be fighting, federal prosecutors say. On Tuesday, authorities arrested Davis on charges of attempting to sexually exploit a child, enticing a child to engage in sexual activity and possessing child pornography. If convicted, he could face a long sentence.

No plea has been entered for him, and he did not respond to messages from The Washington Post.

Over the course of several weeks between May and late June, prosecutors say, Davis exchanged text messages with undercover FBI agents, trying to arrange meetings with a 9-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. Davis allegedly sent the undercover agents sexually explicit photos and videos of children as young as infants and made clear that he wanted to have sex with children of any age, according to a federal criminal complaint.

He also admitted to meeting a 13-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr, speaking with him on Snapchat and engaging in sexual activity with the boy at Davis’s Manhattan apartment in June, according to the complaint.

“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. “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.”

Authorities came across Davis when an FBI agent posted a message on a “fetish” website where people leave ads soliciting children for sex, according to the criminal complaint.

“Looking for other no limits TABOO pervs in DC area,” read the message posted by the FBI. “Bi dad here.”

A person with the screen name “yngperv22″ responded saying, “Need me to come down and watch ur kids for a night : ).” That person was subsequently identified as Joel Davis, according to the criminal complaint. Davis exchanged phone numbers and began texting the original poster, not knowing he was an undercover FBI agent, the complaint said.

Davis told the agent that he is into children ages zero and up, and has “no limits,” according to the complaint. He said he previously had sexual experiences with a 9-month-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. He sent the agent an array of disturbing photos showing adults sexually abusing naked children as young as infants.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The Washington Post, Samantha Schmidt