His public push to end sexual violence against children was so significant it reportedly nabbed him a nomination for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Joel Davis' private actions couldn't have been more contradictory, say police. The 22-year-old Columbia University student, who started Youth to End Sexual Violence before becoming chairman of a group of more than 5,000 human rights organizations, was arrested Tuesday in Manhattan on charges of child pornography and attempting to sexually exploit children, reports the Columbia Spectator. Davis allegedly responded to a post left by an undercover FBI agent on a "fetish" website, per the Washington Post. In a series of text messages, he admitted to past sexual experiences with children as young as infants, including a 13-year-old boy he met in June through the Grindr app, police say.
Showing "the highest degree of hypocrisy," Davis also tried to arrange meetings with children supposedly in the care of undercover agents, says the FBI's William F. Sweeney Jr. "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." US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman calls the development "as unfathomable as it is sickening" given that Davis has rubbed elbows with Angelina Jolie, served as a youth ambassador for the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, and is now leading the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence. Davis, who last year described being "tormented by the recollection of my childhood sex abuse" and spoke out about child rape in war zones in a 2014 Huffington Post op-ed, could face up to 70 years in prison. (Read more child sex abuse stories.)