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Former Miles City athletic trainer sentenced to state prison for child porn

Sentence will be served after time in federal prison
Posted: 5:21 PM, Aug 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-28 19:51:05-04
Former Miles City athletic trainer sentenced to state prison for child porn

BILLINGS — James Jensen, formerly employed as an athletic trainer in Miles City and accused of a sophisticated system of sexual abuse of students, was given a 20-year prison sentence for charges involving child pornography.

Jensen, 79 years old, appeared in Custer County District Court on Wednesday for sentencing, according to the Custer County Clerk of Court.

James Jensen

Jensen was a trainer at the Miles City Unified School District starting in the 1970s.

He was also sentenced recently in federal court in Billings for charges of coercion and enticement. Prosecutors had recommended the maximum of 15 years because of the breadth of the abuse, which spanned decades. He received a 12-year sentence in that case (see below).

In October of 2018, Miles City police received information about child pornography on Jensen’s home computer found by a housekeeper at his retirement home.

Police got a search warrant and confiscated Jensen’s computer and a tablet. Pictures containing nude boys engaging in sex acts were found on the devices.

Jensen must first serve out his federal prison sentence before serving time in Montana State Prison.

In a separate civil case, 32 of Jensen’s victims have sued the Miles City Unified School District for unspecified damages, claiming school officials and coaches were aware of the abuse and did not stop it. That case is pending.


(JULY 30, 2019) James Jensen, 79 years old, was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release on charges related to repeated sexual abuse of dozens of male student athletes.

Jensen served as an athletic trainer at Custer County High School from 1970 through 1998. He developed what he called “The Program,” which he used to sexually assault possibly hundreds of teenagers over the years. Under the guise of building muscle mass, Jensen massaged and stimulated their genitals, according to court documents.

Jensen will serve his sentence in the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota, which is reserved for prisoners with medical needs. Jensen suffers from diabetes and other ailments that have left him frail and wheelchair-bound.

Jensen was sentenced in federal court in Billings by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen for charges of coercion and enticement. Prosecutors had recommended the maximum of 15 years because of the breadth of the abuse, which spanned decades.

Jensen pleaded guilty in December 2018 He also faces separate state charges of possession of child pornography, for which has pleaded guilty.

In explaining the sentence, Christensen, who is based in Missoula but brought to Billings for this case, said the sentence was “sufficient but not greater than necessary.”

Jensen spoke in court and apologized to his victims: “I’m deeply sorry for what happened, physically and emotionally. There’s no excuse for my actions while administering ‘The Program.’”

Three of the victims also spoke in the courtroom.

The case came under federal jurisdiction after investigators discovered that Jensen had used the internet to research how to implement “The Program.” He also looked for additional victims online, according to prosecutors.

In a separate civil case, 32 of Jensen’s victims have sued the Miles City Unified School District for unspecified damages, claiming school officials and coaches were aware of the abuse and did not stop it. That case is pending.