- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A former Montana high school trainer pleaded guilty Tuesday to using information from the internet to develop what he called “The Program” to coerce young boys into sexual activity by claiming it would boost their athletic performance.

James “Doc” Jensen, 79, sat in a wheelchair as he pleaded guilty to a charge of coercion and enticement in U.S. District Court in Missoula, the Missoulian reported .

Jensen decided to plead guilty without making a deal with prosecutors. His public defender, Steve Babcock, said prosecutors had enough evidence for a conviction if the case had gone to trial, and he acknowledged a high number of victims.

“We would admit there were probably 100 victims in this case,” Babcock said.

The Miles City man faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on July 30 in Billings.



Jensen was a trainer at Custer County District High School in Miles City from the 1970s until about 1998. The federal indictment was filed in December and focused on Jensen’s actions from 1995 until 1999.

Jensen has acknowledged some of the abuse, but denied other allegations. During interviews with investigators, he equated his program to Chinese acupuncture and said he “had applied it to hundreds of children,” according to court filings.

A criminal investigation began after more than a dozen alleged victims filed a lawsuit against Jensen and the school district in September. The number of plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit has now grown to at least 30.

At the time of the abuse, the statute of limitations for prosecuting child sex crimes was 10 years. That means Jensen hasn’t been criminally charged with abusing former students.

Reports said he contacted some of his victims via social media shortly after the statute of limitations ran out.

Montana lawmakers are considering legislation that would end the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes.

Prosecutors said Jensen also sexually abused students on athletic-related trips to North Dakota and California and pretended he was a teenager online to meet underage boys in the 1990s.

Jensen has pleaded not guilty to separate state charges related to possessing child pornography prosecutors said was found when investigators searched his room in a Miles City retirement home.

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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