Joseph Edgar Davis, who worked in the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference's audio-visual department until last year, was given a 150-year sentence this week for sexually abusing three girls between the ages of five and eight, Maryland media is reporting.
Davis was also found guilty of child pornography after images of the girls were found on his work computer at the GC in Silver Spring, State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan told the Baltimore Sun.
ABC2 reported yesterday:
On February 29, 2012, the IT department of the General Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, discovered that an audio visual employee was using significantly more bandwidth than any other employee. The IT department accessed Davis' external hard drive where the found images of what they believed to be child pornography.The investigation revealed a total of 80 images of prepubescent girls being sexually abused by an adult white male. Police determined in the images were taken between May 29, 2010 and April 7, 2011 at Davis' then residence.The children were identified as three girls that had been left in his care at the time. The girls ranged in age from 5 to 8 and were known to Davis through his church association.The judge noted the age of the victims, the abuse of the mothers' trust with whom he cultivated relationships in order to obtain access to the girls, and Davis' depravity in not only abusing the girls but memorializing the abuse on film as reasons for the lengthy sentence.
Davis was fired on March 5, 2012, the GC said. His title had been Audio-Visual Engineer and he was in charge of the A-V system. He was involved with setting up the PA in the auditorium for daily needs, as well as major church meetings, such as Annual Councils. He lived in Columbia, Maryland.
"The General Conference has a zero-tolerance practice as it relates to accessing pornographic websites on computers or other electronic devices," the church said in a statement. "The Seventh-day Adventist Church views the care and protection of children as a value of utmost importance, and will cooperate with authorities as they investigate any activities that may have been illegal in nature."
Howard County Police, Montgomery County Police, the federal government and members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were all involved in the investigation. Davis is also being prosecuted in multiple jurisdictions.
Davis was sentenced on July 9 by a Howard County Circuit Court after pleading guilty in April to three counts of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree sex offense and nine counts of third-degree sex offense.
In addition to the Howard County case, Davis has also pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He will be sentenced in that case on September 5.
Finally, Davis is also facing additional sexual child abuse charges for additional acts of abuse that allegedly took place in Montgomery County. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week, and a trial August 19.