Former Mclaughlin Youth Center Supervisor Sentenced on Seven Counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor at Facility

The Juvenile Justice Officer, Phillip Eugene Bigham, age 51, who was convicted in November of 2018 was sentenced to 57.5 years in prison Alaska’s Department of Law revealed on Friday.

Bigham, who was employed at the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage was convicted of seven counts of Sexual Abuse, solicitation, and Attempted Escape IV,  in connection with a 16-year-old inmate at the facility.

“Bigham resigned on November 24, 2015, after he was informed that he was being removed from his supervisory position,” prosecutors said. He was the supervisor of the Girls Treatment Unit and had been found making unexplained trips to a shed with the victim. It was after that time that staff at the center found that Bigham had remained secretly in contact with a 16-year-old female at the facility. They also discovered that he had been corresponding with the girl outlining how she could escape and live in his garage.

When interviewed, the girl divulged that Bigham had engaged in sex with her seven times in the four days prior to his resignation. Armed with that information, APD was informed of the incidences.

Less than a month later, on December 18, detectives with APD recorded a phone conversation where Bigham detailed the escape plan and plans to hide her and declared his love for her. In the conversation, Bigham was heard to tell the girl, “if anything goes down, you don’t know shit.”

Following the phone call, Bigham was placed under arrest. When his home computer was searched, images of the girl in her underwear were found.

“Every child deserves to be protected from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation,” said Assistant District Attorney James Klugman, who prosecuted the case. “Anyone who would prey on the innocent and vulnerable needs to understand: we do not and will not tolerate these heinous crimes. You will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and you will be held accountable.”

Following incarceration, Bigham will face an additional 15 years of probation and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender.