ryan davis

Ryan Andrew Davis is seen in his profile photo on Facebook.

PHILADELPHIA >> The Thornbury student who has been accused of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography had been arrested and charged with molesting two young boys he was babysitting just months before he began collecting the illegal material, according to court documents.

Federal authorities on Tuesday asked a magistrate in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to order Ryan Andrew Davis detained while awaiting trial on the charges of possession, receiving and transportation of child pornography based on his prior juvenile criminal history and his false statements to investigators.

In a memo, a prosecutor said that even while he was under supervision for the molestation case, he was secretly compiling a stash of pornography through the internet.

“The defendant is a danger to children in the community,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rotello in a motion for pretrial detention filed Monday. ”There are no conditions that could assure the safety of the community if he is released. He was already an adjudicated sex offender at the time he committed these federal crimes … (and) his crimes clearly demonstrate the true danger he poses to children in the community.”

Davis, 21, of Thornbury, a student at West Chester University, was taken into custody last week by FBI agents investigating the allegations of child pornography possession against him. He has been held at the federal detention facility in Philadelphia since then.

At the conclusion of a detention hearing Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter, Davis was ordered to be held in detention awaiting trial.

His attorneys, Thomas Schindler and John Pavloff of Kennett Square, accompanied Davis at the proceeding, Afterwards, Schindler said Davis was given an opportunity to speak with his family before being taken back to the detention facility. Schindler declined comment on the specifics of the case, but said his legal team would begin the process of defending him.

If convicted, Davis, faces a maximum possible sentence of 60 years in a federal prison, including a five-year minimum mandatory prison term, five years of supervised probation, and $750,000 in fines.

West Chester University officials have stated that they are aware of the indictment, and are in the process of determining what actions should be taken against Davis.

According to an indictment in the case, in February 2016, March 2017, and August 2017, Davis had images of minors engaged in sexual activity and abuse on his laptop computer and smartphone. Some of those incidents took place while Davis, known by the screen name “Davis_rad,” was on West Chester’s campus. Other incidents occurred at Davis’s home at the time in Glen Mills. The images included those in which minors were seen being sexually assaulted or depicted in sexually explicit positions, the U.S. Attorney’s news release stated.

According to Rotella’s motion, the case against Davis began in October 2016 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children got a tip from Dropbox Inc., an online file hosting site, that a person with the username Andrew Davidson has uploaded 130 images of suspected child pornography into his account. Authorities were able to trace the account to Davis at his home and at WCU.

A search warrant was executed at the Glen Mills property in August 2017. In an interview, Davis acknowledged setting up the Dropbox account in the false name — combining his middle name and that of his grandfather — so that he could store links containing child pornography.

He said he had started using the Dropbox account during the time of his arrest for sexually assaulting the two boys he had been babysitting, ages 6 and 9 years old. Those charges, filed in Delaware County in October 2014 when he was 17, included accusations that he molested the children, showed the older boy pornographic images on his phone, forced them to perform oral sex, and raped the older boy. He was adjudicated delinquent on two charges of indecent assault, and placed on probation. No restrictions were placed on his use of the internet, Rotella wrote.

Davis initially told detectives investigating the child pornography allegations that he had deleted the images from his devices because he knew they were illegal after his arrest. But a forensic examination of his Dropbox account showed that he began uploading the images in June 2014, seven months after his juvenile arrest. In addition, there was no evidence that he ever deleted the material, the motion states.

He tried to assert that he had been storing the images so that he could continue an online relationship with another man, someone he referred to as “Mike.” But investigators were able to determine that he was involved in a number of internet groups involved with child pornography, including one called “World of Boys.” They could find no evidence of any online romantic relationship with “Mike” involving the exchange of pornography.

When Dropbox reported the activity in his account, they shut it down. However, an examination of his iPhone showed that even after that, Davis continued to access child pornography, as recently as March 2017. Eventually, Davis told police that he continued to trade child pornographic images for at least a year up until August 2017, a year after he had been successfully discharged from his juvenile probation sentence in Delaware County.

Ultimately more than 20,000 images and videos from the Dropbox account of graphic and sexually explicit images of infants, toddlers and prepubescent boys were recovered from his Dropbox account.

His arrest was announced last Thursday by U.S. Attorney William McSwain.

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