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URBANA — A federal court judge on Monday sentenced a Farmer City man to 30 years in prison for sexually molesting children at the Crisis Nursery in Urbana about 18 years ago and for later participating in an internet child pornography ring, using pictures he took of children at the nursery.

Brian W. Davis, 51, will have to serve at least 85 percent of that sentence. Should he live long enough to be freed, he will spend the rest of his life on supervised release.

"It occurred to me the evil that you did — you planned it, you plotted it and you committed it," U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce told Davis.

"Every minute you were thinking of the evil ... you could have been doing something good instead. You didn't. You committed these acts just for your own sick desire, nothing else," Bruce said.

His sentence was more than the 27 years the government recommended and far more than the 22 years Davis' attorney sought.

"For the behavior you committed, that deserves just punishment. I am not in the vengeance business. I try to find a just sentence," Bruce said to Davis in an Urbana courtroom packed with some of his victims from the Crisis Nursery.

Representatives of three families who had children molested while in Davis' care made emotional statements in court. Davis, shackled and wearing a Macon County striped jail jumpsuit, listened with his head bowed and his hands folded in front of his mouth.

Davis pleaded guilty in 2015 to one count of sexual exploitation of a child for molesting a child at the Crisis Nursery in Urbana in 1998, while he was an employee there. He also took pictures of the act.

In a separate case, he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child for activity between 2007 and 2014 and engaging in a child exploitation enterprise dubbed "The Love Zone" between 2012 and 2014.

It was while federal authorities were investigating the worldwide child pornography ring that Davis confessed to abusing the children at the Crisis Nursery some 18 years ago.

He then began cooperating with authorities in this country as well as in Denmark.

He was the last of five co-defendants to be sentenced in connection with The Love Zone and received the second-highest sentence.

In July, Bruce sentenced Jason Gmoser, 36, of Hamilton, Ohio, to natural life in prison for running the subscription child pornography service.

Dakota Martin of Greenwell Springs, La., was sentenced to 20 years in prison; Andrew Hoff, 34, of Live Oak, Texas, was sentenced to 17 1/2 years; and on Monday morning, David Delalio, 37, of Longmont, Colo., received 17 1/2 years in prison for his role.

An 18-year-old woman tearfully told the judge about a lifetime of dysfunction she suffered after being molested by Davis as an infant.

"I was 9 months old. I was not a child. I couldn't tell my mom, 'Hey, I think something happened to me,'" she said, explaining how she was unable to form physical attachments within her own family and has ongoing intimacy problems.

The mother of another young man now in college read his statement. He wrote that after learning from the FBI that he had been victimized by Davis at age 3, his grades plummeted and he has suffered from depression and anger.

Another mother testified that two of her children were molested at ages 18 months and 3 while she left them at the nursery as she worked three jobs to make ends meet. Her older son started "acting out" at an early age and is now in prison.

"I failed as a parent to protect my children. My heart is broken and can never be repaired," the mother said.

Recommending the 27 years and five months in prison, Department of Justice prosecutor Keith Becker called Davis' actions "very, very serious and very, very well-organized crime whose objective was to abuse and exploit as many children as possible."

Becker characterized Davis' role in The Love Zone as "leading and significant," saying he recruited other subscriber members to upload original child pornography to the site and organized that part of the site.

Davis' attorney, John Noll of Springfield, argued for a lesser sentence, saying that Davis provided substantial help to the government in its investigation, including testifying in Gmoser's jury trial in Urbana earlier this year.

"Once these issues were exposed, the defendant did everything right after having done quite a few things wrong," Noll said.

When it was his turn to speak, Davis thanked the government agents and attorneys for their "civil treatment" of him over the past two years.

He said after years of substance abuse, triggered by being sexually molested as a young boy, he turned his life over to God. He asked for the forgiveness of his victims, their families and his own.

"Don't let my actions keep you from God," he said.

Davis called his abuse as a child a "regret" and not an excuse for what he had done as an adult.

He noted that his family had liquidated his assets so that he could make restitution.

Bruce ordered that Davis pay $164,000 in restitution to the single victim named in the case involving The Love Zone. The judge also imposed a $55,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson said none of the approximately two dozen victims in the Crisis Nursery abuse had requested any restitution.

At least one has filed a civil suit against the nursery in Champaign County Circuit Court. Three civil attorneys representing at least four victims attended Davis' sentencing.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).