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Artist given 5-year term
BRIAN BARBER
12/19/2001
Tulsa World (FH Edition), Page A15 of METRO


An award-winning Christian musician was sentenced to
five years in prison Tuesday for having a sexual
relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

Ja'Marc Davis, formerly of the hip-hop group Raze, will
appear back in court in one year for Tulsa County District
Judge Jefferson Sellers to review the punishment.

"I would not set that (court date) now if I didn't think
I might reconsider your sentence," Sellers said.

Sellers gave Davis three 10-year sentences to run
concurrently but suspended all but the first five years.

A presentence investigation by the State Department of
Corrections had recommended probation for Davis, 26. But
the judge said repeated sexual acts with a child "demanded a
period of incarceration," even if they were revealed by the
defendant himself.

Adults and children need to know that "sometimes good
people do bad things and there are consequences," Sellers
said.

Davis pleaded guilty last month to three felony sex
offenses, including rape by instrumentation, lewd
molestation and sodomy. Prosecutors dismissed seven charges
as part of a plea deal.

Davis also was ordered to enroll in a sexual offender
treatment program and to have no contact whatsoever with
minors. He will have to register as a sex offender once he
is released.

The judge recommended that Davis be incarcerated at the
John Lilley Correctional Center, which is a
minimum-security facility in Boley.

Davis held his hand up to the victim, who is now 17, and
her family and told them "I'm sorry" before he was led out of
the courtroom by guards.

His father, Willie Davis, said he was at a loss for
words after the sentencing.

"I'm just (emotionally) open right now," he said as he
consoled the large group of people who had come to support
his son.

Defense attorney Rob Nigh said he was "extremely
disappointed" in the judge's decision.

"I have never seen anybody bring their criminal conduct
to light and take such extraordinary steps to rectify it,"
Nigh said.

Davis admitted to being "physically involved" with the
girl at the time of their relationship from 1998 to 1999
while she was a backup dancer for Raze.

The girl's mother testified at the sentencing hearing
that Davis had become "part of the family" because he spent a
lot of time at her home teaching her children various dance
moves.

When Davis came forward about the sexual relationship,
the woman said, "I felt betrayed -- not by my daughter,
because she was so young, but by Ja'Marc."

Davis was arrested March 1 in Tulsa after Raze's first
concert in a planned 30-city tour, which was later
canceled. He has not performed with the group since then.

Raze's brand of Christian music and its 1999 CD "Power"
earned the group a Dove Award in the category of
Dance-Rap-Hip-Hop.

Several people, including Davis' former pastor and a
private counselor, testified and wrote letters on his
behalf. All described Davis as "a fine young man" and "very
Christian."

Assistant District Attorney Chad Moody expressed disgust
that people still referred to Davis as "a beacon to the
Christian community."

"That so many people can express that opinion bothers me,"
said Moody, who characterized Davis as a youth minister who
preyed on minors for sex.



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