Citing more than two years of secret bathroom recordings of juvenile victims, federal prosecutors argue that a former Medford youth pastor should be sentenced as a “repeat and dangerous sex offender.”
Prosecutors are seeking 188 months — more than 15 years in prison — for Donald Courtney Biggs, 40. Biggs, a former Mtn. Church youth pastor, pleaded guilty to a felony count of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, admitting he transported a 14-year-old girl to Southern California with intent to record her in a bathroom during a March 2013 church trip he chaperoned.
Biggs, who’s been held in the Jackson County Jail since early 2015, will be sentenced next week in U.S. District Court in Medford. His public defender, Terry Kolkey, will argue for a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence.
The U.S. Attorney’s office this week released new details of Biggs’ predatory contact with minors, calling him a “master manipulator” who captured minors undressing over two years, and groomed victims by giving them gifts — a cellphone for one teen, clothing for others — and singled out victims for activities outside of church.
There were dozens more victims than the half-dozen listed in court records, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Investigators have recovered 166 illicit videos recorded without victims’ knowledge, about 80 more than previously reported. They had been recorded in secret during overnight youth trips that included summer camps and spring break outings, as well as taken at Biggs’ home and at the church, according to a document filed Wednesday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Potter. Recovered from a church computer’s hard drive were roughly 100 video still shots from a June 2012 houseboat trip to Shasta Lake.
“These are only the videos that Biggs was unable to destroy before law enforcement was able to execute a search warrant,” the document stated.
The true extent of Biggs’ crimes may never be known, prosecutors said. Biggs destroyed at least one hard drive, and in the early stages of the investigation made admissions to Medford police about destroying at least one camera card.
At his home in Jacksonville, where he often held sleepovers, Biggs hid a camera pointed at the bathroom mirror in a light switch, according to Potter.
“A sign reminded the girls to turn on the fan, likely to make sure the mirror was not foggy,” Potter wrote.
Other church trips where Biggs hid cameras included summer camps in Klamath County and a spring break trip to Depoe Bay.
During a church retreat in Huntington Beach, California — the trip at the center of Biggs’ guilty plea — Biggs apparently hid a camera in towels on the bathroom floor. At least two victims were recorded, prosecutors said.
The documents shed light on the lengths Biggs went to orchestrate scenarios where the juveniles, particularly girls, would need to change clothes.
“Biggs even hosted a spa night at his home exclusively for the minor females, so that they would know how beautiful and loved they were,” Potter wrote.
Biggs also singled out girls for activities outside the church, according to Potter.
“Biggs targeted specific minors by assigning nicknames and forming a clique he referred to as the ‘Fab Five,’ singling out those individuals for movie nights, sleepovers and other outings outside of the church,” Potter stated.
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.