Sentencing hearing for Christian music performer continues

Friday, December 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A sentencing hearing will continue next week for an award-winning Christian music performer who admitted having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.

Ja'Marc Antoine Davis pleaded guilty last month to rape by instrumentation, lewd molestation and sodomy.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has recommended a 10-year prison term as part of a plea negotiation in which seven related counts were dismissed. But attorneys for Davis, 26, are seeking probation.

Davis said he was ``physically involved'' with the girl, who was 14 at the time of their relationship from 1998 to 1999. The girl, now 17, was a backup dancer for Davis' Tulsa-based Christian music group, Raze, which won a Dove Award in the Dance-Rap-Hip-Hop category for its 1999 CD ``Power.''

The teen's mother testified Thursday that Davis had become ``part of the family,'' spending time at her home to teach her children various dance moves.

``I felt betrayed _ not by my daughter because she was so young, but by Ja'Marc,'' the woman said.

Davis' counselor, a former pastor and the mother of his one-time fiancee described him as ``a fine young man'' who is ``very Christian.''

Pastor Glenn Smith, who recently left his position at Tulsa's Believers Church for a post at a Wisconsin church, testified that Davis has taken responsibility for his actions by getting counseling.

``He had to learn what allowed him to cross boundaries that he knew were wrong,'' Smith said. ``Ja'Marc knew he made a bad choice and was willing to accept whatever came of it.''

Davis was arrested March 1 in Tulsa after Raze's first concert in a planned 30-city tour, which was later canceled.

Prosecutors maintain that Davis had a sexual relationship with the 14-year-old who under law was too young to agree to such conduct.

A police affidavit stated that the girl told police she had consensual sexual contact with Davis 15 to 20 times, usually when they were in the defendant's car.

Davis has not performed with Raze while waiting for a resolution in this case, his attorney, Rob Nigh, said.

The hearing was continued to Tuesday.