Former TV weatherman pleads guilty to child porn charges

January 30, 2020 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former television weatherman accused of downloading pornographic images depicting children pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in Ohio on Thursday.

Mike Davis pleaded guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus to four counts of pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor. Authorities have said he downloaded and emailed the material to himself over a period of about seven years.

Davis’ lawyer filed a motion last week asking that Davis be sent to a therapy program rather than prison. The motion argues that Davis used pornography in an attempt to self-medicate after suffering for years with various mental health issues, including severe depression and anxiety. Defense attorney Terry Sherman also wrote that Davis did not create, distribute or share the images and that there is no indication that Davis “has ever had any inappropriate contact with any minor children on any level.” Sherman declined on Thursday to make any additional comment on the case.

Davis, 60, could face up to 29 1/2 years in prison at his sentencing March 25. The judge did agree to allow Davis to be screened for possible placement in a community-based correctional facility.

Davis was fired from WBNS-TV in Columbus after his arrest in September. He had worked there for more than three decades.

The Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating after receiving a tip in August from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center said it had traced nearly 16,000 images of child pornography to a central Ohio email address. Detectives confirmed that the email account belonged to Davis.