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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Franklin County Sheriff's Major Arrested: Federal Charges of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Aboard a Cruise

Written by: Sam Orlando

FRANKLIN COUNTY, VA - Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Virginia is grappling with a major scandal following the arrest of an employee on federal charges of abusive sexual contact with a minor. Major Justin Sigmon, 47, was charged following an incident involving a 9-year-old girl on a Carnival Cruise that departed from the Port of Miami on May 25, according to court documents from the District Court of Southern Florida.

On May 26, a witness reported seeing Sigmon allegedly touching the girl's inner and upper thighs. The witness claimed that the girl was seated on Sigmon's lap for about 10 minutes, during which Sigmon's hands were seen moving toward her "private area." The witness began to record the incident, which was also captured on the ship's surveillance cameras.

The witness alleges that the girl attempted to push Sigmon's hands away multiple times, only for him to persist. The child eventually moved off his lap and took her own chair. Immediately after, Sigmon was seen covering his crotch area with his hands.

During a forensic interview, the child told authorities that she had only been touched on her legs and not in any private areas. A special agent, however, contradicted this statement, arguing that video recordings disproved the girl's account.

Sigmon, consenting to an interview with law enforcement, stated that he understood why his actions may be viewed as inappropriate but maintained that they were not intended to be "sexual." Despite this, he confessed that if another man touched his daughter in the same way, he would "punch him in the face." He further claimed to have covered his crotch area because he was cold and denied being aroused.

Nevertheless, an FBI special agent concluded there was probable cause to charge Sigmon with abusive sexual contact of a minor under 12. The charges were made when the cruise ship docked in Florida.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office released a statement on June 2, 2023, acknowledging the incident and revealing that Sigmon had resigned. "Our prayers are with the Sigmon Family," the statement read. As of now, it remains uncertain whether the Sheriff's Office will be conducting an internal investigation to rule out the possibility of other potential victims given Sigmon's professional access to children.

The charges against Sigmon are deeply unsettling, raising critical questions about vetting processes, safeguarding practices, and the potential for further victims. As the legal process unfolds, it is imperative that these questions are not left unanswered.

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