BILLINGS – Federal prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 15 years for charges of coercion and enticement surrounding former Miles City athletic trainer James Jensen.
On Wednesday, a hearing regarding the sentencing request was held until July 26. Jensen is currently being housed in Shelby.
Jensen served as the trainer for Custer County High School from 1970 to 1998 and court documents state he developed “The program,” a way to sexually assault hundreds of male student-athletes under the guise of the promise to help body mass and muscle size through masturbation, stimulation, and oral sex.
According to a pre-sentence investigation report, federal prosecutors said the level of Jensen’s offense could qualify him for up to eight years in prison. However, due to the factors of the case, they believe a maximum sentence of 15 years is appropriate.
In December, Jensen was charged in federal court after authorities discovered child pornography on his home computer.
U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said Jensen used means of interstate commerce, including the Internet, to “entice and coerce an individual who he believed was minor to engage in sexual activity.”
Prosecutors said for 20 years, Jensen used his unfettered access to young boys to exploit their innocence for his own sexual gratification.
During that span of time, Jensen performed various sexual-related activities on boys during sessions in his home or at school.
One victim said he participated in “The program” three to four times a week during the sports season in his freshman and sophomore years. Another victim said he receives “100 treatments” from Jensen and described the abuse including oral sex as happening two-to-four times a week for years.
Prosecutors said Jensen’s ex-wife was not aware of the abuse of teenage boys, but did describe at one point, finding a photo album in the basement of their home that contained pubic hair in the photo sleeves along with names. Jensen said the photos were research.
In sentencing recommendation documents, prosecutors asked the court to consider cases similar to Jensen’s child abuse case.
Stanley Patrick Weber was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for aggravated sexual abuse for his role in a scheme to lure young boys to his home and sexual abuse them.
Weber served as a pediatrician and worked for Indian Health Services on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Another, similar case was where a federal judge in Michigan sentenced former Olympic athletic trainer Larry Nassar to 60 years in prison for “leading a double life” of a trainer to elite athletes and a predator who used his position to sexually exploit children.
Along with 15 years in prison, federal prosecutors also recommend a three-year supervised release.
Jensen also faces criminal charges in state court for allegedly possessing child pornography and is also named in a massive civil suit where 32 plaintiffs have stated in depositions that they told teachers and coaches of the abuse, but no one from the district, including coaches, teachers or administrators, confronted Jensen or tried to stop him.
-Reported by Andrea Lutz/MTN News
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