Update: BILLINGS- A longtime Miles City athletic trainer accused in a sophisticated system of sexual abuse was arrested Friday at his home in Miles City.
The arrest was not for the charges in the sex abuse case but instead for a series of other crimes. James “Doc” Jensen 78, faces 10 counts of sexual abuse of children for pictures seized on his home computer.
The Montana Department of Justice released information Thursday on a case that rocked the town of Miles City last fall.
Jensen is behind bars for those charges but also faces a civil suit filed by 19 male victims who say when they attended Custer County High School decades ago Jensen sexually abused them for years.
The investigation began in September after the Custer County attorney became aware of the allegations from media reports.
Jensen was a trainer at the Miles City Unified School District starting in the 1970s.
Numerous victims came forward with sexual abuse allegations that happened at the school and at Jensen’s homes.
However, the alleged abuse took place outside the statute of limitations, so prosecutors said they likely couldn’t try Jensen.
Court documents state Miles City police received information about child pornography on Jensen’s home computer found by a housekeeper at his retirement home.
At the beginning of October, 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.
John Heenan, the attorney representing victims in a civil suit against Jensen and the Miles City Unified School District, told Q2 that he is thrilled by the news that Jensen is behind bars.
“He wouldn’t be in jail tonight if they (the victims) had not had the courage to bring this and that was followed by the hard work of law enforcement who didn’t give up when confronted with statute of limitation problems,” said Heenan.
Jensen’s bail is set a $100,000.
He is set to appear in Custer County District Court on Dec. 21.
(original story) MILES CITY, Mont. – Longtime athletic trainer James Eric Jensen of Miles City was arrested Thursday and charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography, according to a news release provided by the Montana Department of Justice.
He is being held in the Custer County Detention Center. District Judge Michael Hayworth set Jensen’s bail at $100,000.
According to the release, the criminal investigation into Jensen began in September, shortly after Custer County Attorney Wyatt Glade first became aware of allegations that Jensen had sexually abused minors.
Back in September, a civil lawsuit was filed in Custer County District Court alleging Jensen sexually abused male students at Custer County High School in Miles City starting in the 1970s until he left employment with the school district in 1998.
Jensen was hired as an athletic trainer, though he was never formally certified by the state athletic trainers’ board.
In response, The Miles City Unified School District launched a lawsuit of its own in response to a civil lawsuit filed against the district and its former longtime athletic trainer, who is accused of sexual abuse spanning decades.
The investigation found that alleged incidents of abuse occurred outside the statute of limitations.
During the investigation, however, law enforcement received information that Jensen was in possession of child pornography. After obtaining a warrant, DCI agents searched Jensen’s residence and removed various data storage devices.
The analysis found a number of pornographic images of minors.
Accordingly, Custer County Attorney Glade has charged Jensen with 10 counts of possessing child pornography.
“I appreciate the patience of the community and the media throughout this process,” Glade said.
“As with all criminal investigations, prosecutors and law enforcement officers are extremely limited as to what information they can release to the public before the investigation is complete. Now that the investigation has concluded and I have charged Mr. Jensen, I want to assure the citizens of Custer County that I will prosecute this case with the utmost diligence and do all within my power to hold Mr. Jensen accountable.”
“Throughout their work on this case, my prosecutors and Division of Criminal Investigation agents exemplified the thoroughness and professionalism that are the hallmarks of the Montana Department of Justice,” Attorney General Tim Fox said.
Jensen’s arraignment date has not been set at this time.