A 40-year-old Oregon man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for covertly recording underage church members undressing in his home, while he was employed as a youth pastor.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the verdict against Donald Courtney Biggs on Aug. 23. It comes not long after a grand jury report released this month accused more than 300 “predator priests” across Pennsylvania of sexual abuse—and the Roman Catholic Church for its decades-long cover-up of the alleged activity.
Biggs first came under investigation in December 2014 after he allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to an underage girl who he worked with at the Mountain Christian Fellowship. According to court documents, authorities found he had exchanged similar text messages with other minors.
Following the discovery, Biggs confessed to church administrators that he also videotaped an adult changing at his house. Police then obtained a warrant to search his home.
During the search, officers found numerous electronic devices that contained video footage of both minors and adults undressing and entering a shower in Bigg’s Jacksonville, Oregon, home where he hosted youth events. He hid a video camera behind a light switch at his home and also concealed video cameras in bathrooms at other church retreats.
The former pastor later admitted to the secret recordings and also admitted to purposefully designing activities to require youth group members to change clothes or shower.
Biggs was first charged on Nov. 2 last year 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.
In February last year, he pleaded guilty to a single count of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor. Biggs will be on supervised release for life.