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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kenneth Stephen Fagin, Jr. And Terry Bruce Tate Sentenced To Serve 30 Months In Prison For Illegally Excavating Civil War Artifacts From Public Lands

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Kenneth Stephen Fagin, Jr., 39, of South Pittsburgh, Tenn., and Terry Bruce Tate, 61, of Manchester, Tenn., were sentenced on July 30, 2015, by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 30 months in federal prison.  Fagin was ordered to pay $22,463.59 in restitution to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the National Park Service to cover the cost of restoration and repair to the sites. Tate was ordered to pay $21,619.59 in restitution to the TVA.  Upon their release from prison, Fagin and Tate will each serve a one-year term of supervised release.   

Fagin and Tate pleaded guilty in February 2015 to multiple counts of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), including violations in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northern District of Alabama, and Western District of Tennessee.  ARPA first became law in 1979 as a way to protect against the loss and destruction of archaeological resources found on public and Indian lands that are an “irreplaceable part of the nation’s heritage.” 

From September 2007 to July 2011, Fagin, Tate and others excavated Civil War era artifacts from the bottom of Fort McCook, also known as Battle Creek, which is located on TVA property.  Specifically, Fagin, Tate and others recovered Civil War Hotchkiss shells, which are pieces of artillery used during the Civil War.  Fagin and Tate did not have permits as required under the ARPA nor did they have authority from TVA or any other entity to excavate artifacts from Battle Creek.

In August 2009, Fagin and Tate also excavated Civil War era U-rails from public lands in Bridgeport, Alabama.  In March 2010, Fagin and Tate transported and delivered a counterfeit “Sherman Bow-Tie” that was made from Civil War era U-rails that Fagin and Tate excavated from public lands in Bridgeport, Alabama, without permission or authorization.

In August 2010, Fagin also excavated Civil War era artifacts from Shiloh National Military Park, including a .57 cal. three-ring rifle bullet; five fired three-ring rifle bullets and Schenkl artillery shell fragments.  Fagin had no permit or authorization from the National Park Service to excavate artifacts from Shiloh National Military Park.    

Agencies involved in this investigation included TVA and the National Park Service. Anne-Marie Svolto, Assistant U.S. Attorney represented the United States.      


Updated February 4, 2016