A lawsuit filed in Custer County District Court in Miles City alleges that James “Doc” Jensen sexually abused at least 18 boys during his time as an athletic trainer at Custer County District High School.
According to the lawsuit, Jensen performed various sexual acts on the male students as part of what he called “The Program” to increase their strength and testosterone.
The abuse began with routine physical exams. Jensen touched the boys’ genitals and said it was a hernia check. The touching turned into masturbation, nude massages, measuring their penises and oral sex.
Jensen later told the boys that he could naturally enhance their athletic performance. If the boys were hesitant to participate in the program, Jensen would questions their commitment to the team.
“Jensen used the authority and trust of his position with the district to groom, entice, induce and coerce plaintiffs for the purpose of sexually abusing them on an ongoing basis,” the lawsuit said.
“This was a structured, sophisticated system of ritual sexual abuse,” said attorney Daniel Rice, who filed the lawsuit with his partner John Heenan.
“This abuse went on for years, and there are a lot of people out there who think they’re the only one. This is high-level child molester stuff,” Heenan said.
The lawsuit claims that some of the coaching staff was aware of the sexual abuses.
“Coaching staff were aware that boys would routinely receive massages in Jensen’s office, often while completely nude,” the lawsuit said. “Such office has large open windows and was within the view of coaching staff and physical education teachers.”
In 1998, a parent told the vice principal that Jensen was performing hernia checks without a medical license. He was terminated shortly after.
The district, however, didn’t contact the victims or their parents about the alleged sexual abuse.
“Why not let the parents know? Why not let the victims know they weren’t alone? Why leave these victims to be scattered around after high school, all of them dealing with the fallout of the abuse?” Heenan said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages, an apology and school policy changes to prevent something like this from happening again.