MANTORVILLE -- A Dodge Center man facing four felony criminal sexual conduct charges pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Dodge County District Court.
Michael Adam Davis, 36, pleaded not guilty to two charges of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The case is scheduled for a jury trial in July in Dodge County.
When the charges were filed in April 2019, Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said that the alleged incidents did not occur at a church function and that Davis is a lifetime registered sex offender due to a previous conviction in Utah involving a minor. Davis was a men’s leader at The Church of Latter-Day Saints in Kasson.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Davis following a traffic stop in March 2019 when he was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. During the traffic stop, a sergeant learned Davis was a registered sex offender and that a prior victim was a juvenile male, according to the criminal complaint.
A motion filed by the defense in November 2020 states that alleged victim reported to a family member that he was sexually assaulted by Davis, who was 34 at the time. The young person met Davis at church and "thought Davis was a cool guy" and so the young person wanted to hang out with Davis. They started hanging around Davis at his residence, playing computer games and with Nerf guns. It is on two of those occasions when the alleged sexual assaults occurred.
Since the complaint was filed in April 2019, prosecutors and Davis' attorney have argued over whether Davis was in a position of authority over the child at the time of the offense. In arguing that Davis was in a position of authority, Special Assistant Dodge County Attorney Geoffrey Hjerleid noted that an adult who invites an unrelated child to his home reasonably assumes a minimum degree of protection of the child's health and welfare "sufficient to support a determination of position of authority."
Davis' attorneys argued there "is not a scintilla of evidence" that supports the state's theory that Davis was in a position of authority over the teenager by virtue of his position as “President Davis – Elders Quorum President.”
Judge Jodi Williamson issued an order in December 2020 on the matter and whether Davis was in a position of authority will be presented to the finder of fact -- the jury.