SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former employee of the El-Cajon-based Christian Youth Theater who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing an underage student in the program was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
Brad Christian Davis, 41, pleaded guilty to a felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object stemming from a 2010 incident, which the San Diego County District Attorney's Office says involved a then-16-year-old girl.
Deputy District Attorney Trisha Amador said the conduct between Davis and the victim stretched from 2009 until 2011, beginning when the victim was 14 and Davis was 26, though the statute of limitations prevented additional charges in the case.
Amador said Davis' admission of guilt was "key" for the victim, more so than the sentence, in discussions that led to his guilty plea.
Last year, the DA's Office charged Davis and another former CYT employee, David Hott, for alleged sexual abuse involving underage victims.
Hott, whose case remains pending, is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child allegedly involving a 13-year-old girl, which prosecutors say occurred in 2007. In a statement announcing the charges against Davis and Hott, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said there were other victims in the case "whose abuse was beyond the statute of limitations," but those victims "still provided valuable information and evidence that allowed their voices to be heard and will allow us to seek justice."
At Davis' sentencing hearing, he did not make a statement in open court, but his attorney, David P. Shapiro, said his client expressed his remorse to the victim in a letter and had wanted to apologize to the victim sooner, but was advised by legal counsel not to reach out.
In that letter, Davis expressed "horror, dissonance, and disbelief that he was capable of such hurtful and careless behavior" and told the victim "I am glad you spoke up," according to the attorney.
Shapiro said Davis "made a series of inexcusable, terrible decisions and certainly took advantage of a position of trust and took advantage of a young individual."
The victim, identified in court as J.D., told Davis, "I have spent years in vain imagining what it might feel like to finally receive an explanation or apology for what you've done...You've had 11 years to explain and apologize. The words you say now, no matter how earnest, I struggle to believe."
In 2020, Christian Youth Theater President Janie Russell Cox announced that a number of the theater's San Diego chapters would be shut down on an indefinite basis following a flood of allegations posted on social media by former students and employees alleging incidents of sexual abuse.
The theater, which was founded in 1980, is an after-school theater arts program with affiliates across the nation.
In addition to the two criminal cases, a civil lawsuit against the organization remains pending. The complaint alleges at least ten children were sexually abused by six different adults employed by Christian Youth Theater between 1991 and 2011. Davis and Hott are not among the employees named in the suit.