NewsCrime and Courts


Prosecutors: Ex-Miles City athletic trainer “cat-fished” young boys, abuse crossed state lines

Posted at 1:04 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 14:27:07-05

BILLINGS – The former athletic trainer accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys in Miles City while he was a school athletic trainer reportedly had victims in other parts of the country as well.

Federal charges were previously filed against James Jensen stating he used means of interstate commerce to coerce the teenagers into sexual activities.

In documents filed Wednesday, prosecutors provide additional evidence stating Jensen had molested children in North Dakota and California, and that a close relative accused him of having “high-school aged boyfriends all over the country.”

The documents state that the same relative confronted Jensen and he told them he was just “counseling” the boys.

Jensen is accused of setting up a decades-long system of abuse known as “The Program” at Custer County District High School in Miles City.

Court documents state Jensen used “The Program” to sexually molest young male athletes under the promise of increased athletic performance.

Last week, prosecutors said that Jensen’s use of the internet to research the basis of “The Program” constituted the use of interstate commerce, and Jensen was ready to plead guilty. But a judge disagreed, asking the prosecution for more evidence that the crime was committed.

He is scheduled to return to court on Friday.

The new filings – titled an “amended offer of proof” – state that a relative told prosecutors that at the time she was concerned that Jensen was “cat-fishing” the boys, meaning he was falsely representing who he was to gain their trust and attention.

A relative later told prosecutors that Jensen was using photographs of students to represent himself as a teenage boy while online.

Documents state that Jensen contacted many of his victims over the phone.

The documents mention another victim who in seventh grade attended a wrestling tournament in North Dakota with Custer County District High School.

When they arrived in North Dakota he was one of a few boys who had to go see Jensen for what was called a “hernia check” in which Jensen rubbed down his genital area.

The victim then stated he became a part of Jensen’s program and went over to Jensen’s home for “treatments.”

The victim told prosecutors: “It just slowly turned, you know went from you know like little therapy deals into more heavily massages, into talking you into doing things that you know you shouldn’t be doing.”

In another situation, Jensen accompanied another kid in an athletic-related trip to California. Documents state Jensen administered “The Program” to the victim before, during and after the trip in which Jensen was the only chaperone.

Prosecutors will present their additional findings on Friday to a judge who will then decide whether or not there is enough evidence of the crime before allowing Jensen to plead guilty.

-Samantha Sullivan reporting for MTN News