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Katherine Gerberich / Senior Staff Photographer

Davis could face up to 70 years in prison.

Updated June 28, 2018 at 7:11 p.m.

General Studies student Joel Davis was arrested Tuesday in Manhattan on charges of child pornography and attempting to sexually exploit children as young as two years old.

Davis spent years as a sexual assault prevention activist both on and off Columbia’s campus, helping to found Youth to End Sexual Violence and serving as the chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence.

After being arrested, Davis allegedly confessed to officers that he had sexually abused a thirteen-year-old boy in the past, and that he kept child pornography on his phone.

Davis was a columnist for Spectator in 2017, writing on topics including being a survivor of sexual assault (like most Spectator columnists, Davis was an outside contributor who was not a member of Spectator’s staff). In a 2014 op-ed in the Huffington Post, Davis condemned the sexual exploitation of children.

Justice Department officials said that over the course of several weeks, Davis exchanged text messages with undercover officers, repeatedly asking that one officer send Davis sexually explicit photos and videos of his nine-year-old daughters.

The Department’s criminal complaint also alleges that Davis described in detail the explicit sexual acts he intended to engage in with both the officer’s nine-year-old daughter and the two-year-old daughter of the officer’s girlfriend.

“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,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. said in a statement.

Davis and the Youth to End Sexual Violence did not immediately respond to Spectator’s requests for comment. He could face up to 70 years in prison.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Davis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. In fact, the Nobel Committee does not publicize the list of nominees to either the media or the nominees themselves.

khadija.hussain@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

Joel Davis Child Pornography sexual violence
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