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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 23, 2018

Former Medford Youth Pastor Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Federal Prison for Secretly Videotaping Minors

Defendant used church events and trips as a guise to secretly record dozens of minor victims

MEDFORD, Ore. – Donald Courtney Biggs, 40, of Medford, Oregon, was sentenced today to 188 months in federal prison for surreptitiously recording minor church members in various stages of undress while employed as a youth pastor at Mountain Christian Fellowship in Medford.

According to court documents, the Medford Police Department (MPD) began investigating Biggs in December 2014 for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to a minor female who he worked with at the church. After authorities discovered Biggs had exchanged similar text messages with additional minor females and confessed to church administrators that he videotaped an adult changing at his house, they obtained a warrant to search Biggs’ home.

The search uncovered multiple electronic devices containing videos of minors and adults undressing and getting into and out of a shower in Biggs’ home. Biggs concealed a video camera behind a light switch in a bathroom in his home in Jacksonville, Oregon used by minor and adult females during youth events hosted at his house. The camera captured victims nude as they were using the toilet, changing clothes, and showering. In a similar manner, Biggs also concealed videos cameras in bathrooms on church retreats to Huntington Beach and Lake Shasta, California.

Biggs later admitted to secretly recording many of the girls in his youth group at his house, the church, and at several different church events. He also admitted to designing activities that required youth group members to change clothes and sometimes shower.

Biggs was charged on November 2, 2017 with nine counts of using or attempting to use a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct and three counts of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor for illicit acts involving nine different minor victims.

Biggs pleaded guilty to a single count of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor on February 22, 2017. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Biggs will be on supervised release for life.

This case was investigated by the FBI, MPD, and the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force. It was prosecuted by Judi Harper, Amy Potter, and Pamela Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at www.fbi.gov/tips.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated October 2, 2018