A former Montana high school athletic trainer accused of sexually abusing students under the guise of boosting their athletic performance was arrested Thursday after investigators found child pornography in his room in a Miles City retirement home, authorities said.
Seventy-eight-year-old James Jensen was put in jail with a $100,000 bond and charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse of children for possessing the pornography.
State authorities opened a criminal investigation into Jensen after 19 former Custer County High School students sued him over the alleged abuse from when Jensen was a part-time athletic trainer at the school from the 1970s until about 1998. They say Jensen promised to enhance their strength and testosterone levels through participation in "The Program," in which he performed nude massages and sexual acts on the boys.
John Barnes is a spokesperson for the Montana attorney general’s office, which was involved in the investigation.
“During the course of that investigation, that’s when the information about child pornography surfaced and that’s why those charges were filed today," Barnes said.
A former housekeeper at Jensen's retirement home told authorities in September that she had seen nude images of boys on Jensen's computer screen while she was cleaning his room, according to a court document filed by prosecuting Custer County attorney Wyatt Glade.
Jensen told the housekeeper that the photos were of his nephews, Glade wrote.
The following month, investigators with a warrant searched Jensen's room and seized his computer, a tablet and a memory card. The images of boys were found on the card and analyzed by a doctor for a medical opinion of their ages, the youngest of which the doctor said was 9 or under.
Each count of sexual abuse of children carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
An arraignment hearing is set for December 21 in Miles City.
Jensen won't be criminally charged with abusing former students because the alleged abuse happened outside of the statute of limitations.