Sentencing continued for FC man who admitted sex charges

 

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URBANA — A federal judge on Monday continued until October the sentencing of a Farmer City man facing decades in prison for engaging in an international child pornography ring and sexually abusing a child at the Crisis Nursery in Urbana about 18 years ago.

"I want to make sure the hearing is fair for both sides," U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce said in Urbana on Monday at the scheduled sentencing of Brian W. Davis, 51.

Davis pleaded guilty in summer 2015 to engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and sexual exploitation of a minor.

The enterprise charge deals with Davis' involvement in a members-only online child pornography website dubbed "The Love Zone" that had approximately 28,000 subscribers worldwide.

The exploitation of a minor charge to which he pleaded guilty involved the sexual molestation of a minor — and recording of the act — in 1998 at the Crisis Nursery in Urbana, where Davis was working.

He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison. The government intends to recommend about 27 1/2 years in prison and restitution of $164,000 to a single victim.

Bruce told prosecutors Elly Peirson and Keith Becker and defense attorney John Noll of Springfield repeatedly that he needed ample time to read and digest the objections to the pre-sentence report and the impact statements of up to two dozen victims from the Crisis Nursery before he could sentence Davis.

"This isn't a firearms possession case. There are a lot of moving parts to this," he said, noting the issues of the victims and restitution.

Bruce said he was getting objections from the attorneys as late as Friday afternoon and received another victim impact statement just five minutes before taking the bench for Monday's hearing.

"I need the benefit of time to do my own research. I need time to think. I'm not going to jam all this in because it's convenient for one side or the other," said Bruce, who continued the hearing to Oct. 17, the same day he is supposed to sentence another of the five co-defendants in the "Love Zone" ring.

One man who was convicted after trial was sentenced in July to life in prison; another was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison.

Before setting a deadline of Sept. 30 for the final revised pre-sentencing report, which is written by a probation officer to assist the judge in determining the correct sentencing guidelines, Bruce agreed to hear the statement of one Crisis Nursery victim, read by Peirson, and from another victim who delivered her own statement in the courtroom.

He also heard from a Springfield psychologist who evaluated Davis for about six hours at the Macon County Jail after he pleaded guilty.

About 16 victims and their family members, and another four local attorneys, were present Monday.

Flanked by two family members, a 17-year-old girl read aloud to Bruce about the feelings she has struggled with since being abused at 9 months old while staying at the Crisis Nursery.

She described suffering from depression from her earliest memory, not being able to stand a hug from her mother and not being able to make or maintain relationships with her own siblings or friends.

"I spent my life angry at myself because I didn't know what was wrong with me," she said. "I have never had a good night's sleep in my life."

That lack of sleep as an adolescent caused her grades to suffer in middle and high school, where she often fell asleep in class. She described school as "hell."

"I shouldn't be able to remember (the abuse) but I do," she said, adding when she saw news accounts of Davis' guilty plea that included his mug shot, she realized that his was the face in her nightmares.

"For 17 years, I've seen a monster I didn't know existed, a bogeyman under the bed that it turns out I did know," she said, crying and bringing others in court to tears.

The letter that Peirson read from another victim referred to the damage to the whole family of the victim and the victim's inability to express with words the anger and hurt.

"What you have done does not define who I am," the victim's letter said.

To mitigate Davis' sentence, Noll had Springfield psychologist Leslie Fyans Jr. talk about what he learned from Davis in three meetings.

Fyans said Davis told him that he was sexually molested by a man in the neighborhood — "Mr. Rogers" — for a long time beginning around age 5 and that Mr. Rogers had Davis and another young boy engage in sex acts with him and each other.

Fyans called Davis, who worked in the nuclear power industry, "extremely articulate" and "almost encyclopedic" in his responses. He said as a young man, Davis abused alcohol and crack cocaine, which exacerbated his obsession with child pornography. He agreed with Peirson that Davis is a pedophile.

"I'm not trying to be a prophet, but I can't see a time in his lifespan ... when he will not be in some kind of therapy," Fyans opined about Davis' treatment.

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).