Claims to fame: Christian singer; co-founder, Christian hip-hop dance band Raze; youth pastor; child rapist; registered sex offender
Moral apex: Conducting an 18-month-long sexual relationship with a 13-year-old backup dancer for the group (who has 13-year-old backup dancers?), when he was 22 — as well as with two other 16-year-old girls.
In an affidavit, Davis said he and the 13-year-old (who had met through church, after which his family hired him to tutor her [!]) had discussed their relationship with the board of directors of his ministry about the relationship — which consisted of 15 to 20 sexual encounters in their respective homes, and in Davis’s car. Davis explained: “I’m at a place in my life that I’m ready to find a wife, and I have no restrictions on age.” (Too bad society does, eh, Ja’Marc?)
In June, 1999, reported Tulsa World: “Davis told a friend who is the executive director of his Christian youth ministry about the consensual sexual contact with the girl and two other girls. The other girls were 16, police said — old enough by law to consent to the acts.”
In an interview with CCMMagazine.com (“Christ Community Music”), Davis’s sister-in-law and ex-Raze manager Teresa Davis said: “From the very beginning, long before Ja’Marc’s arrest ever took place, he came forward to admit his actions and said, ‘These are things I want to get right in my life, and whatever it takes, I’ll do it.’ He came forward to his accountability partner, to our pastors, to the girl’s family and to me and the other group members.”
Added CCM: “Ja’Marc first came forward in mid-1999 and began an in-depth restoration process under the guidance of a pastor in Tulsa. As part of that process, Ja’Marc received treatment at an in-patient psychological counseling center while simultaneously undergoing Christian counseling, including counsel with his pastor.”
Why no one from Davis’s church went to the police is unfathomable. Finally, more than a year later, someone (unconnected to the families of the three girls) did.
Per CCM: “According to Teresa Davis, an initial investigation by the Tulsa Police Department took place that summer of 1999, but Ja’Marc’s attorney was eventually told the investigation had ended, and no charges were filed. Davis said Ja’Marc continued his counseling sessions with his pastor in 2000, and with the pastor’s approval, went back on tour with Raze in the spring of that year, after eight months of treatment and counsel.”
Whatever the reasons for the delay, police finally arrested Davis in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the night of March 1, 2001 — immediately following the opening concert of a 30-city tour.
The D.A. wanted to catch him before he left the state. Several sources said Davis knew the arrest was coming — which probably explains why Davis took a moment at that night’s concert to give a brief, somewhat cryptic mini-sermon to Raze’s audience about how everyone makes “mistakes.”
Per CCMMagazine.com: “While rehearsing for the tour in Tulsa on Feb. 28, 2001, Teresa Davis was notified that the Tulsa district attorney’s office might be planning to file charges against Ja’Marc related to the events that were now nearly two years old. The following day, the date of the first concert on the tour, Davis’ attorney contacted the district attorney to offer Ja’Marc’s availability for any additional questions, but the offer was turned down. That evening, Ja’Marc was arrested following the concert in Tulsa.”
Davis cooled his heels in the Tulsa County Jail for more than two weeks before posting bail, reduced from $550,000 to $44,000.
Initial plea: Not guilty to five counts of lewd molestation, three counts of rape by instrumentation, and three counts of forcible sodomy. (Davis wasn’t charged with any crime in relation to the two 16-year-olds; the age of consent in Oklahoma was 16.)
Finally: Entered into a plea bargain in December, 2001, pleading guilty to three felony charges in exchange for the dismissal of the seven others.
Sentence: Three concurrent, ten-year sentences, with 25 years suspended; enrollment in a sex-offender treatment program; no further contact (at all) with minors.
However: Davis was released the following year.
Where Raze is now: Per CCMMagazine.com: “The remainder of the group’s tour was canceled and late in 2001 Raze officially disbanded and left its record label, ForeFront. Donnie Lewis is living in Tulsa, writing songs and recording new demos to pursue a record deal. She is currently singing backup with Natalie Grant on the Plus One spring tour. Mizzie Logan hopes to sing again and is talking about putting a new demo together. She also lives in Tulsa and has plans to start a clothing line. Todd Hanebrink is currently living in Las Vegas working as a choreographer.”
As for Davis, he has his very own page on the Web site of the Oklahoma Sex and Violent Crime Offender Registry — and, yes, he grins like an idiot in every new mug shot posted.
Jamarc Antoine Davis
Sex Offender Registration
Start Date: 12/19/2002
End Date: LifeTime
. . .
Sex Offender Registration Offenses
Rape By Instrumentation
CRF# 2001-1279. County: Tulsa. City: Tulsa. State: Oklahoma. Date: 12/18/2001
Lewd Or Indecent Proposals/Acts To Child
CRF# 2001-1279. County: Tulsa. City: Tulsa. State: Oklahoma. Date: 12/18/2001
CRF# 2001-1279. County: Tulsa. City: Tulsa. State: Oklahoma. Date: 12/18/2001
About a year after the scandal broke, one of his fans, in email contact with Raze member Mizzie Logan, reported that Davis was married (but not to his little bit of jailbait), living in Tulsa, and had a new band called The Industry.
A tiny blurb in the birth-announcements section of a Tulsa newspaper, printed Wednesday, June 4, 2008, read:
St. Francis Hospital
Synthia and Ja’Marc Davis, boy.
We can’t help but wonder if Ja’Marc will raise his son to believe that it will be A-OK with Dear Old Dad if Sonny Jim starts shagging little girls when he turns 22.
We also found his name (as a guitar player) in the credits of a Hanson Brothers album.
High irony: According to one of Davis’s ?ber-Christian teenage fans (more about that bunch in a moment), the purpose of the aborted concert tour “was to teach abstinence. Prior to the concert, the band went around to area schools teaching children to say ‘no’ to drugs, smoking, drinking, and pre-marital sex. The school rallies were then followed up with a free concert to lead these children to Christ. The concert was sponsored by ‘The Prairie Dogs’ a group involved in reaching the youth of America with the gospel of Christ…”
In a pre-scandal interview with CCMMagazine.com, Davis himself stated: “We’re going into the schools and dealing with young people who don’t know the basics of the Christian faith, so Christianised lyrics aren’t
necessarily the best route. We go into as many junior highs and elementaries as we can get into and do assemblies with the title You Can Be You, Follow Your Dreams. We all have different life stories we share; there’s singing and there’s dancing. Then we invite everybody out to a concert and talk about your choice about asking Jesus to come into your life.”
Most disturbing: The mass denial — among his friends, family, bandmates, colleagues, and fans alike — that Davis’s arrest and prosecution was justified.
The day after her brother-in-law was arrested, group manager Teresa Davis issued a public statement:
“These allegations stem from events which happened two years ago. Ja’Marc came forward two years ago and made us aware of a need for restoration. His pastor and I have walked with him during the past two years and have been actively involved in the restoration process. We are in communication with the affected families and are aware this is not their doing. …”
As if the person who reported Davis’s crimes to the authorities were to blame!
The statement conitnued: “We ask that you join us and pray for Ja’Marc, the families affected and the other members of Raze. We are certain that these allegations will be sorted out.”
Greg Ham, president of Raze’s record label, ForeFront, issued his own statement: “In times like these, it is more important than ever to support a brother in need. We stand behind our artist, and we are in prayer for Ja’Marc and Raze.”
In an interview with the two female members of Raze, CCMMagazine.com summed up the group’s feelings: “Ja’Marc’s arrest made public a situation that Raze members felt had been spiritually dealt with nearly two years earlier.”
“It was hard to make that decision because no man is a judge of where a person’s heart is,” Mizzie Logan told CCM. “But when it was time to reevaluate whether or not Ja’Marc should come back out, we definitely made sure we all felt at peace about it. We sat and talked with him, and he was so open and honest. We talked to his pastors and counselors, and they all felt like he was at a really good place and that he could begin to perform again as he continued his restoration process.”
When asked about Raze’s eligibility for the upcoming Dove Awards, Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Association, shrugged off sex scandals among Christian singers, including Davis’s, as a mere “moral difficulty.”
After Davis’s sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Chad Moody reflected on the testimony of Davis’s former pastor, counselor, and other supporters, and letters sent to the court on Davis’s behalf, attesting to Davis’s good, solid Christianity.
Moody said he was disgusted, particularly by references to Davis as “a beacon to the Christian community.”
“That so many people can express that opinion bothers me,” said Moody.
But it’s a Yahoo! mailing list formed in 2000 (and quickly abandoned shortly after Davis’s conviction, left to the clutches of porn and Viagra spammers), “jamarcdavisfanz4eva” that illustrates most glaringly the unwillingness of True Believing Christians™ to face up to the fallibility of their idols — and, perhaps, the unwitting need for a flesh-and-blood idol to worship in place of an invisible, unpredictable, and decidedly un-sexy God.
Formed mostly of Raze’s target demographic — adolescent Christian girls — “jamarcdavisfanz4eva” was, prior to Davis’s arrest, a hotbed of squealing teen fandom. Messages were typically along the lines of:
“Raze is awesome! ne1 who thinks differently, bring it on!hee hee:)”
“yo u 2!!! glad u found my club!!!!!!”
“i wish i could call jamarc!!! just for fun yesterday i went into the MSN white pages and searched for jamarc davis in tulsa ok. there were millions or J. Davises but no jamarc…sob …”
“IAMGONNAMARRYJD…..J/k!! ( well, i wish,….lol) OK, well, n e way, i still think that JD is the cutest guy…”
“i case y’all dont know i am in LUVLUVLUV with the group JAKE and i lovelovelove all the boyz especially josh but all of them…”
“I’m nu!! hooroo! ja’marc is cool! and a sweetie! and stuff.. yepyep…. ok.. this is my post.. so uh.. everybody enjoy it.. and whatever”
…ad nauseum. (Yes, the above messages, representing only a small sampling, are verbatim.)
After Davis’s arrest, the tone of the messages immediately turned, ranging from somber to distraught, with more than a few fans confessing to crying and worrying about Davis all day long. While that behavior may be expected from young, immature teenage girls whose larger-than-life idol has just been knocked off his pedestal, a more disturbing trend emerged, just as suddenly: the overwhelming need to believe the charges were untrue, and, worse, if they were true, to absolve Davis of any responsibility, and blame the victim for leading Davis astray.
“Well, Ja’Marc didn’t rape the girl for me. Maybe they have sexual things, but, well… Everybody can do these types of errors, and if Ja’Marc did that he must be forgiven.”
“Yes, everyone needs to be forgiven, and yes it was consentual, but because she was 14, the courts will see it differently. I pray they will see the truth of the matter, despite the law.”
“Father, I lift Ja’Marc and the other memebers of RAZE up to You tonight. I pray that Ja’Marc would know how many people are behind him in You against the enemy. I pray that he will know what to say to the people who are asking him all kinds of questions.”
“do we know that JaMarc is guilty?? b/c everyone is talking like it has been proven that he has done all that he is acused of doing. i, for one, think that we shouldnt judge until we know the truth. does any one know if JaMarc has said anything about this yet? i know that i will trust whatever he says as the truth.”
“…Ja’Marc is not a sexual predator but, someone who is being singled out for something that is only a crime if the female member of the consenting couple is under a certain age. And she could be under that age by only one day and it wouldn’t matter. You notice that no charges can be brought against him by the two sixteen year old girls. The only difference here is their ages.”
“It appears both Ja’Marc and the girl went to the church for guidance. Yet, it also appears as if it is the church that turned Ja’Marc into the authorities. Can you tell me if they violated any preacher/confessor confidence by doing that?”
“Hey I was thinking if the girl was a willing part IF they did anything together then could she choose to not testify aginst him or plead the 5th?”
“Yeah Ja’marc may have made a mistake but it’s been two years since that has happened and in that time he could have changed. God has forgiven him, and so should everyone else. I am a really huge fan of Raze and I’m going to remain a really huge fan. Just because he made a mistake shouldn’t give anyone the right to start judging him, and besides we aren’t supposed to do the judging any way that’s God’s job. I love all of Raze’s songs and the words really mean a lot to me and I don’t think Ja’marc would have written them if he didn’t mean them.”
“I know from my experiences that Ja’Marc, along with the rest of the band, is a great person. At least he’s always seemed that way to me.”
Just one poster reacted with any sen
se of reason whatsoever. In response to this post…
“There is an old word, not in use much anymore, for what Ja’Marc is charged with, ‘petting.’ In his case it would be called ‘heavy petting.’ The word has been used in songs and countless conversations to describe the acts beyond kissing that fall short of actual sex. Ja’Marc’s problem stems from the age of the girl. … Does ‘petting’ make a boy a criminal? … Is ‘petting’ a sin? I don’t know. I have never heard it called a sin even though we all know fornication is called a sin. That would be a good question to ask your youth pastors.”
…the only sensible member of the entire list replied:
“Petting???? Are you for real??
umm…he is charged with SODOMY and penetration with a foreign object on a 13 year old girl….. not feeling up his girlfriend.
“What planet are you on???
“Apparently, everyone on this message board is more caught up in their hero worship with this guy rather than the facts. Yes, he made a huge mistake and God can forgive him. But like the other guy quoted earlier, he needs to be above reproach. He is a ROLE MODEL for young kids. He no longer is a good one which definately effects where Raze goes from here. It’s unfortunate the rest of the band has to affected by his mistakes, maybe they’ll be able to go on without him and be successful.”
As you might expect, this lone voice of reason was slapped down; e.g., the first poster, determined to remain deep in TeenBeat fantasyworld, shot back:
“I’m not hero worshiping, I’m just not attacking him because he hasn’t been PROVEN to have done anything AND I know that he is a good person and if he did do it this was just a mistake.”
In some cases, the mass denial/hypnosis had less to do with Davis’s fall, and more to do with little girls identifying with the victim, and — typically, with the white-hot fire of rebellion only a child at that “awkward age” can muster— taking umbrage at the idea of a 13-year-old being judged too immature to take “responsibility” for her role in the “affair.”
Imagine how many of these children on the “jamarcdavisfanz4eva” list were “in love” with Davis. Imagine how many secretly believe they would have given anything to trade places with the 13-year-old victim of Davis’s abuse, which they saw only as the stuff the greatest forbidden young-love stories are made of:
“…my pastor is much older than I am, and knows a great deal more than I do, but am I not still responsible for my own sins? If my pastor and I were go out together and get drunk, would we not both be in the wrong? Would we not equally share the blame and the guilt? Yes, I understand that the girl was only thirteen – but I also know many girls this age or less with the moral responisiblity to say no to pre-maritial sex.”
“[Another poster] said there’s a difference in this & boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, but i don’t think i agree. if she were any younger i might. 13-yr-olds may not be considered adults, but we’re closer than most people think. i’m 13 yrs old & i believe that i’ve reached a point where i know how to make decisions(contrary to popular belief) & i can be held responsible for my actions.”
One presumed adult, also sidestepping the issue of Davis’s accountability altogether, not only implies that it was all the girl’s fault, but turns a teachable moment into a lesson all about himself (perhaps inadvertently expressing some suppressed guilt about his own wicked thoughts regarding young girls):
“This points out how important for us to be on Guard! As a Pastor, I know I must not allow myself to be alone with any female who is not married to me or my daughter, because of the opportunity for accusation, true or false. As a minister of the Gospel and One who supports Christian Rock Music…I myself questioned the Wisdom of Having Rachel Lampa, Stacie Orrico, and Raze together on tour. They are all so young!!! I may sound like a prude but if these young people are not chaparoned…or protected…they become fairly or unfairly vulnerable to accusation…again true of false. I agree that we must pray for this young man… I also believe that we should pray that we would no longer put our young Christian Artists/Bands into such vulnerable situations.”
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Davis:
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
— Mark 9:42
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Davis’s “adult” defenders:
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
— Psalm 73:21-22
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Davis’s pubescent fans:
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
— Deuteronomy 11:16
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