A California man is accused of posing as a prepubescent girl to establish relationships with more than 80 children across the U.S. in an effort to get them to produce child sex abuse material.
Demetrius Carl Davis, 24, was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on Tuesday on a charge of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, jail records show.
A monthslong investigation into Davis began when the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Rodney Grassmann said in a video statement.
A search warrant executed at Davis’ house on Dec. 1 uncovered recordings of children engaged in sexual acts on Davis’ devices, Grassmann said.
The children largely ranged in age from 6 to 13, he said.
“Davis is suspected of generating numerous fictitious social media accounts portraying himself as a prepubescent female child named Lizzy,” Grassmann said. “Davis used these accounts to befriend and communicate with children on the internet in order to groom them.”
Davis would speak to the children in sexually explicit language and send them child sex abuse videos, the sheriff’s office spokesman said. He would also direct them to produce child sex abuse material, Grassmann said. The videos showed children engaging in sexual acts with their siblings and other children, he said.
More than 80 victims across the U.S. have been identified, according to the video statement. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is also working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to identify at least 15 victims believed to live abroad, Grassmann said.
Grassmann urged caretakers everywhere to check their children’s devices for contact with a person named Lizzy and contact the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office if they find anything suspicious.
It is unclear if Davis has a lawyer. He is being held without bail.
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.