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Former Miles City athletic trainer plea hearing continued, judge asks prosecutors for more evidence

Posted at 1:18 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 14:24:28-05

BILLINGS – The change of plea hearing for the former Miles City athletic trainer accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys was continued Tuesday.

James “Doc” Jensen was scheduled to admit to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor in federal court.

Judge Timothy Cavan continued the hearing though, saying he needed more proof from the government that Jensen was, in fact, guilty of the crime.

To be guilty of the charge, the prosecution has to show that Jensen used a means of interstate or foreign commerce to persuade, entice or coerce the minor to engage in sexual activity.

Cavan said the issue lies in whether or not Jensen used means of interstate commerce to coerce the young boys into taking part in “The Program.”

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

All parties agreed that the internet can be classified as “use of interstate commerce,” but Cavan said the government did not have proof in their filings that Jensen used the internet to directly contact minors.

Prosecutors said that since Jensen used the internet to research what would eventually become “The Program,” and that information was used to entice the boys, that the statue was satisfied.

“It seems like a pretty dramatic extension,” said Cavan.

After a brief recess to read previous court cases related to the matter, the judge said he needed more proof before the hearings could proceed.

The hearing was rescheduled for next week.

RELATED: Former Miles City athletic trainer accused in massive sex abuse case to admit to federal coercion charges

Story by Samantha Sullivan – MTN News