Joel Davis, a Columbia University student who was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his attempts to end sexual violence, has been accused of attempting to sexually exploit children. The Columbia Spectator reports that Davis was arrested in New York City on June 26. He is accused of possessing child pornography on his phone. In addition, authorities said Davis admitted to the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.
In 2015, Davis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize after he helped to found Youth to End Sexual Violence. The Spectator report says that Davis was once the chairman for the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence.
Prior to his arrest, Davis had been in contact with an undercover FBI agent, according to documents in the case. The Ivy League student allegedly asked the agent for explicit photos and videos of the officer’s 9-year-old daughter. Davis is also alleged to have described the sexual acts he would like to perpetrate with the girl. Davis is also accused of planning to engage in sex acts with the 2-year-old child of the agent’s girlfriend.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Feds Say Davis Went by the Screenname ‘Yngperv22’
Documents in Davis’ case say that an FBI agent first made contact with the student on May 15, 2018. The agent put up a message on a website that sex offenders are known to frequent. The message read, “Looking for other no limits TABOO pervs in DC area. Bi dad here.” Authorities say Davis responded to that message under the username, “Yngperv22.”
Davis allegedly responded to the message saying, “Need me to come down and watch ur kids for a night :).” Davis told an agent that he was sexually interested in children “+0,” according to documents. When the agent told Davis that he had a 9-year-old daughter, Davis responded by saying, “If ur legit I’d love to come down and eat her p****.” Davis continued talking about the 9-year-old saying, “I just want her c***… I just want to eat her c*** so bad.”
Davis also claims in the documents to have tried to have sex with a 7-year-old boy but he “couldn’t get it in” because the child was “struggling.” The documents say that in June 2018, Davis told agents that he met a 13-year-old boy on Grindr and engaged in penetrative sex with him. Davis said the pair were also in contact via Snapchat.
You can read the full documents in Davis’ case here. Warning, these documents contain extremely graphic sexual material:
2. In 2017, Davis Wrote a Piece for the Columbia Spectator About Being a Survivor of Sexual Abuse
Davis published an opinion piece for the Columbia Spectator in November 2017 where he discussed being a survivor of sexual abuse. Davis discussed a group of men who abused him. He said those men insisted he call them, “Daddy.” Davis went on to talk about being in therapy to get over his pain. Eventually, Davis wrote about the difficulties of being in a relationship on account of the traumas he suffered. Davis identifies as being gay in the article. He writes, “Trauma is notoriously hard to forget. There are years I can’t account for but days I can think back to and count the individual minutes I spent walking into the bedroom, wondering what my friends—now home from school—were doing at that very moment.”
In a separate 2014 opinion piece for the Huffington Post on child sex abuse worldwide, Davis wrote, “In so many conflicts across the globe, children’s bodies are quickly becoming sites of violence, where rape is used to terrorize and degrade entire communities.” Davis gave a TED talk on sexual violence at Columbia University in April 2018.
3. Davis Has Studied at the Sorbonne, the University of Oxford & Julliard
According to his LinkedIn page, Davis, a native of South Florida, has studied law, archeology and anthropology at the University of Oxford as well as French studies at the Sorbonne in Paris between 2011 and 2012. In 2015, Davis began studying classics at Columbia University. A year later, Davis studied piano at Julliard.
Since 2013, Davis has worked for the Middle East Institute, in Washington D.C. until 2014. He has worked for Physicians for Human Rights in Boston, also until 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, Davis was a special youth envoy on sexual violence in conflict at the United Nations in New York City. Davis is the executive director of the group Youth to End Sexual Violence. Until May 2018, a month before his arrest, Davis was the chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape.
4. Davis Said When He Was Nominated for the Nobel Prize, ‘I Feel Like I Lead a Bit of Double Life’
In May 2015, when Davis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he was quoted by WBBH as saying, “I feel like I lead a bit of a double life, college student by day type of thing… It’s difficult to me to kind of grapple with that, that on one hand, this is supposed to be our success point, but nothing has really changed. At least not enough for me.” The same article refers to Davis as an American University student, something which is not on his LinkedIn page. Davis graduated high school at Port Charlotte High and began his career in activism at the Model United Nations. The piece also mentions that Davis has worked alongside Angelina Jolie in the past.
5. Davis Has Been Described as Exhibiting ‘the Highest Degree of Hypocrisy’
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement announcing Davis’ arrest, “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. 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. Crimes against children such as those alleged are taken very seriously by the FBI, and we continue to work tirelessly to investigate those who place the most helpless members of the American public at risk.”