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Savannah man convicted of federal child sex charges

He was arrested in Millen after weeklong trip with a young girl

A Savannah man was convicted of several sex charges in federal court Tuesday in Statesboro. He was arrested in Millen after returning from a trip with a young girl during which he had sex with her and took explicit photographs of her, according to evidence presented during his trial.

Steve Lavon Biggins, 33, lied about his age and identity to gain the confidence of a girl younger than age 16, U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver said in a statement released Friday.

After taking the girl on a seven-day trip through several states in July, Biggins was stopped and arrested in Millen, Tarver said.

The conviction followed a two-day trial before U. S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in Statesboro last week. Biggins was found guilty of transporting a minor with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, production of child pornography and transportation of child pornography.

“This defendant misrepresented his identity and age through his conversations with a girl he met online in order to gain her trust,” Tarver said. “He developed a relationship with her, transported her across the Southeast in a tractor trailer, engaged in illegal sex acts and took photographs of that activity in violation of numerous federal laws.”

Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Biggins posed as a man in his 20s named “Rodney.” Tarver said Biggins texted and called the teen girl, who he “met” through the mobile application Tagged.com.

Biggins built a relationship with the victim in person without her parents’ knowledge and took her away for, short-haul trips that spanned a total of seven days through South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina, before returning to Georgia, Tarver said.

“While on the trip he engaged in sexual conduct that violated the laws of each state he entered, and photographed the same,” Tarver said. “Upon his return trip through Millen, Ga., Biggins was stopped and immediately arrested by law enforcement officers.  He has remained in custody since that time.”

Biggins’ arrest “rescued one victim, and his conviction will help protect other children from such future predatory acts,” he said. “These acts are deplorable, and the U. S. Attorney’s Office aggressively prosecutes individuals, like this defendant, who are involved in such predatory acts towards our children. ”

The conviction “brings with it a strong reminder that there are dangerous individuals out there that will exploit and harm our children,” said Ricky Maxwell, the acting special agent-in-charge at the FBI Atlanta Field Office. “The FBI is not only pleased with the jury’s verdict but also with the combined law enforcement response in getting a dangerous individual such as Mr. Biggins off of our streets.”

The arrest in this case, brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, was accomplished through the combined efforts of Millen Police Department, Jenkins County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and FBI.  Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide U. S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse, Tarver said.

Biggins faces 10 years to life in prison for the transportation of a minor charge; 15 to 30 years on the production of child pornography charge; and five to 20 years on the transportation of child pornography charge, he said.

Each charge also carries a fine of up to $250,000, and between five years and life of supervised release.

“Biggins remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing.  A sentencing date will be scheduled following completion of a presentence investigation and report,” he said.

FBI Special Agent Marcus Kirkland investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Greenwood, the deputy criminal chief in the Augusta U.S. Attorney’s Branch Office and Project Safe Childhood coordinator, prosecuted the case.

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