WILTON — A local man has been charged for the second time since December 2019 with possessing sexually explicit material of girls under age 12, according to an affidavit filed at a Franklin County court by state police Detective Reid Bond.

Zachary Davis Franklin County Detention Center photo

Zachary P. Davis, 20, was arrested March 9 on a warrant charging possession of sexual explicit materials of a minor and violation of condition of release. The state has also filed a motion to revoke bail on a similar charge in a 2019 case for which he was out on bail. That case is unresolved.

“Zach is a very young man who has never been in any trouble before and has a loving and supportive family,” defense attorney Walter “Woody” Hanstein wrote in an email Friday. “He has been completely cooperative in this investigation, and we are already working with the state to try to resolve this matter in as fair and timely a manner as possible.”

Hanstein is representing Davis in both cases.

The victim in the 2020 case lives in another state.

Davis, who is a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, according to UMaine spokesman Dan Demeritt, was living on the UMF campus during part of the school year in 2020; it is unclear if he was living on campus in 2019 when he was charged in the first case.

According to court records, a Florida detective contacted UMF Police Chief Brock Caton in September 2020 and requested a bail check on Davis.

Caton informed state police that, according to Florida police, someone paid a girl under age 12 for a nude photo of herself using a PayPal account registered to Davis’ student email, according to court documents.

Caton referred the case to the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit. Bond was familiar with Davis because he had issued him a summons Dec. 11, 2019, charging him with possession of sexually explicit material of individuals under the age of 12.

During an interview in July 2019, while a search warrant was being executed at Davis’ residence in Wilton, Davis allegedly confirmed he had been viewing explicit images of young children, specifically girls, according to the police affidavit. A state police analyst located images that depict sexual exploitation of minors ranging from about 3 to 12 years of age on Davis’ laptop and cellphone, according to the document.

According to Florida police, a girl under age 12 sent individual nude photos/videos via Instagram at Davis’ request, for which he paid her $40.

When the girl’s mother learned of the situation in August 2020, she contacted Davis and told him to delete the images and that she was going to call police. The photos had allegedly been sent two days before the child’s mother found out about them.

The girl told police she was using Instagram and was contacted by an individual using the username Zaria Sophia, and that Zaria Sophia began telling her about modeling and offering to pay her for a modeling career, according to the affidavit.

Zaria Sophia told the girl that a person had sent her photos of girls she believed to be 9 to 17 years old who were clothed, and instructed the girl to send photos of herself in similar poses. The person then told her she should send nude photos of herself to username Zaria Sophia.

The girl told police she was reluctant, but then was told lots of girls do it. Zaria Sophia sent her photos of the same girls who were either nude or wearing a bra and underwear, assuring her any photos she sent of herself would be safe with him.

The girl sent a person she believed was Zaria Sophia between five to 15 sexually explicit videos that were between five and 10 seconds long. Then Zaria Sophia sent $40, via PayPal, to her. The girl told police the PayPal account address was [email protected] in the name of Zachary Davis.

On Aug. 18, 2020, the victim was contacted by username Zaria Sophia and asked to return the $40 or they would leak all the photos she sent him. The girl sent the money before reporting the interaction to her mother.

The mother contacted Zaria Sophia, told him to delete all the photos and that she was calling police. Shortly after that all of the messages on the girl’s and mother’s accounts were deleted.

Police later located a PayPal transaction which was connected to Davis’ gmail account, matching the girl’s description, according to court records.

During an interview at Davis’ house, Davis allegedly told Bond he had communicated with the victim and did send her $40 for images/videos. Davis told police he no longer had the images and had thrown his phone in the trash at UMF.

Police took all of the electronics connected to Davis at the home. A state police analyst allegedly found evidence of child pornography on Davis’s personal electronics. In one of them, there was a photo of a young girl who did not appear to be the Florida victim.

Davis is being held without bail at the Franklin County jail in Farmington, according to a corrections officer on Friday.

Convictions on the Maine charges carry penalties ranging from up to six months in jail to up to five years in prison.

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