A former sheriff’s deputy who preyed on children at his church has been sentenced to life in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox.
Davin Seth Waters, 26, a former deputy with Parmer County, Texas Sheriff’s Office, was convicted in November 2019 for transportation of minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
“This life sentence confirms the important message that exploiting children in any form will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “While this sentence will not repair the pain and damage done to the victims, it will ensure that Mr. Waters will never have the opportunity to prey upon children of our community again.”
“Today’s life sentence demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to holding sexual predators accountable for their crimes and removes a dangerous threat from our community,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “We will continue working with our partners to ensure that children are protected from abuse and exploitation.”
During a two hour sentencing on Thursday, the court heard how Mr. Waters lured minor victims into engaging in sex acts by leveraging positions of power and trust as a sheriff’s deputy, childcare volunteer, and Tae Kwon Do instructor. Many of Mr. Waters’ victims that he sexually abused were “afraid” of him because he was “big” and thought he might “hurt” them, according to court documents.
Authorities began investigating Mr. Waters following a report from a church member at Frist Baptist Church Texico, New Mexico that a fellow member, identified as Mr. Waters, had sexually abused a child. Mr. Waters who served in the children’s ministry as a volunteer, admitted to unlawfully touching a minor 8-year-old child on multiple occasions while in his capacity as a volunteer at the church.
Mr. Waters resided in Farwell, Texas and owned Tae Kwon Do (TKD) Studio in Bovina, Texas where he instructed many young students. Mr. Waters admitted that he engaged in illicit sexual conduct at his studio with a 13-year-old minor and a TKD student between the ages of 9 and 10-years-old.
According to court documents, Mr. Waters also drove two minors from New Mexico to the Farwell, Texas to spend the night. At his home, Mr. Waters preformed sexual acts on the 11-year-old and 10-year-old while also after giving the 10-year-old pills to induce unconsciousness.
Through the course of the investigation, agents determined that Mr. Waters sexually exploited and abused seven children in the greater Amarillo-area.
The FBI’s Dallas Field Office, the Texas Rangers, and Curry County, New Mexico Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Sean Taylor prosecuted the case. United States District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk handed down the sentence.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Justice Department initiative designed to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse nationwide. The initiative organizes federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.