On the same day former Miles City high school athletic trainer James “Doc” Jensen pleaded not guilty to child pornography charges, he was charged in federal court with coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.
If convicted, the 78-year-old Jensen faces a maximum 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme.
The federal indictment alleges that beginning in 1995 and continuing until about 1999 in Miles City, Jensen used “means of interstate commerce, including the Internet, to entice and coerce an individual who he believed was a minor to engage in sexual activity,” the charges state.
Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen is assigned to the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno Baucus and Bryan Dake are prosecuting the case, which is being investigated by the FBI and Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.
Also on Friday Jensen pleaded not guilty in Custer County District Court in Miles City to 10 counts of child pornography involving images of boys as young as age 9.
Jensen was arrested Dec. 13 and jailed in Custer County on the child porn charges. He is being held in the county jail on a $100,000 bond. The clerk of court's office confirmed Jensen's plea.
A lawsuit that now has 31 plaintiffs alleges Jensen systematically groomed young athletes for abuse during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s while acting as an athletic trainer for Custer County District High School.
State investigators and Custer County officials said that all of the potential abuse of minors happened outside the state's statute of limitations, so they were unable to charge Jensen with those crimes. The child pornography had been discovered as investigators were looking into those allegations.
In a telephone conversation with The Gazette the day the alleged victims' suit was filed, Jensen admitted to some of the allegations, including masturbating the boys, but denied other allegations.
The 10 pornographic images were found in September after a housekeeper at Eagles Manor, a care home where Jensen lived, told police she had seen the images on his computer, according to court documents.
State investigators searched Jensen’s room and seized a laptop computer, a tablet computer and an SD memory card that contained "images of clothed and nude boys," according to court documents, including an image depicting a “younger pubescent male engaging in a sex act with another person.”
An audit of Jensen’s computer search history revealed numerous searches for pornography, particularly searches involving young boys, records state. A doctor helping with the investigation estimated the boys in the photos were from around age 9 to perhaps age 16.