COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A WBNS meteorologist in Columbus, Mike Davis, was booked into the Franklin County Jail on a charge of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said during a Thursday news conference that two weeks ago, the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force received a tip that Davis had both sent and received a “significant” amount of child pornography.
“This establishes a pattern of behavior. One week ago, that information was confirmed and more evidence was gathered.”
ICAC searched multiple locations Thursday morning, including Davis’ home and the WBNS 10TV studios.
They arrested Davis at his Upper Arlington home Thursday morning.
“These are kids that are clearly being exploited for sexual appetite,” Chief Deputy Rick Minerd said.
Minerd, who supervises the investigations division that oversees ICAC, said they seized cell phones and computers — “standard stuff” they take in a child porn investigation.
“There’s no question that it was him versus someone else living in that home?” NBC4’s Ted Hart asked.
“Yes,” confirmed Minerd.
Officials said more charges may be coming as they continue the investigation and they will work with the prosecutor’s office to figure out what charges will be levied and what Davis will be indicted on.
Court documents allege on August 5, Davis knowingly advertised for sale or dissemination an image of a young girl participating or engaging in sexual activity.
“It’s a reminder that these kinds of cases span across all professions,” Minerd said. “We’ve arrested clergymen, we’ve arrested cops, folks from the media – we’ve arrested everybody. It’s a reminder for the community how dangerous the internet is and how we need to protect our children.”
A report on the WBNS website says the station first learned of the charges when Davis was arrested Thursday morning.
WBNS General Manager John Cardenas submitted the following statement:
“At around 10 a.m. this morning, we learned that Mike Davis was arrested by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. We are currently learning more about the details and we will be reporting more about the story. We have no further comment at this time.”
As of 10:40 a.m. Thursday, Davis’ bio was still listed on the WBNS website.
He has been a meteorologist in Central Ohio since 1987.
Davis was booked into the Franklin County Jail pending an arraignment in Franklin County Municipal Court Friday morning.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is planning a 2 p.m. news conference.