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Reached Friday at his Miles City apartment, James E. “Doc” Jensen offered an apology to the victims he sexually assaulted during his 28-year tenure as an athletic trainer at Custer County District High School athletic.

Jensen also offered a denial.

“I did masturbate some of the boys,” he said. “And I’m sorry for that. But, the lawsuit said there was also oral sex and anal probing, and that isn’t true.”

The 78-year-old Jensen said he hoped his actions “didn’t do a lot of emotional or other trauma to the boys.”

One of his victims, contacted Friday by The Gazette, isn’t buying Jensen’s qualified apology.

“He’s a piece of shit,” the victim said. 

“That man took advantage on so many levels of so many kids,” said the victim, now in his early 40s. He also added he had just started going to therapy earlier Friday. 

The Gazette has a policy of not identifying the victims of sex crimes.

“I’m telling you, I was definitely masturbated by that guy,” the man said. “And, I think it also went to oral sex, that’s what I’m going to therapy to find out. I’ve pushed so many of those memories down so deep.”

The victim was among those who was contacted on Facebook starting about two months ago when Jensen sent a friend request. That contact was an effort to reach out to his victims and apologize, Jensen said Friday.

The victim told the Gazette he doubts Jensen’s contrition.

“Every man has to find a way to live with himself,” the victim said. “It’s his mind trying to justify a way that he can sleep at night.”

Jensen said Friday he has some medical training both as a hospital corpsman and later as an EMT. He insisted his athletic training “program” was based in Chinese medicine and that at that time he believed the program was legitimate.

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“I guess I thought back then when I was doing it, that it was doing for the boys what I said it would do,” Jensen said. “I’m not so sure now that I look back on it.

“There was nothing sexual in it for me.”

Jensen also insisted he has had no sexual contact with boys since his contract was not renewed by the school district in 1998. He said he was let go at the time without being given a reason by the district.

He said he doesn’t have any future plans except “to go to trial and get it over with.”

Daniel Rice is one of the attorneys representing at least 19 of Jensen's victims in a lawsuit against Jensen, the high school and the school district. Since the story of the lawsuit broke Friday morning, Rice said he has heard from numerous other victims.

“I’ve talked to so many of our clients who have been abused anally and/or orally by this guy; what he is saying is untrue,” Rice said. “Whatever he is trying to do to make himself feel better about how horribly he abused these kids is totally disingenuous.”

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Warning

Graphic details of alleged abuse in this story could be offensive or disturbing to some readers.

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City Editor

Chris Jorgensen is a city editor at The Billings Gazette. He oversees business, education and entertainment coverage.