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Former athletic trainer James Jensen, the subject of severe sexual abuse allegations in Miles City, worked at Havre High School in the 1960s and early 1970s as a trainer for several sports.
Havre High School athletes from that era, who declined to be identified in this story, said they remembered Jensen well. But they indicated they knew nothing of any misconduct on Jensen’s part.
Jim Jensen, as he is listed in the Havre High annuals, worked with football, wrestling and track athletes during his stay at Havre High School, according to Havre High annuals from 1968 to 1972 on file at the Havre-Hill County Library.
The Gazette reported that athletes said there were cases of Jensen, now 78, masturbating students as well as cases of anal penetration and frequent hernia checks. The Gazette reported that parents complained in 1991 that Jensen performed frequent hernia checks although he had no medical license. Shortly thereafter, he was no longer employed by the district.
One former Havre athlete told The Havre Herald he received frequent backrubs from Jensen but nothing beyond that. “If he had tried any other smart stuff, I probably would have killed him.”
One former athlete recalled that Jensen lived in a basement apartment on Sixth Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Havre. He said three or four football players went over to his apartment for rubs, but he never heard of anything suspicious going on.
One said parents at the time expressed concern that Jensen was “kind of weird,” but students were unconcerned.
Voicemail messages left with Craig Mueller, assistant superintendent and personnel director of Havre Public Schools, were unanswered.
It was not clear the exact dates of his employment here. But 1972 was the last year his picture appeared in any annuals. His name and picture were found in annuals from 1968 to 1972.
A lawsuit against Jensen and the Custer County High School District was filed Friday on behalf of 19 students who say they were abused by Jensen.
“These men are believed to be just the tip of the iceberg of widespread abuse over a period of years within the school,” said John Heenen of Billings, one of the attorneys.
A website, milescityabusevictims.com, has been set up for witnesses and victims, Heenan said. Supporters of the victims say they will press the Montana Legislature to make the statute of limitations longer, so victims can sue many years after the abuse. The legislature will convene in January.
For his part, Jensen admitted masturbating the students and apologized to the students for any trauma it caused. But he said there was no anal penetration.
However, a state law passed in 2017 that extended the statute of limitations for child sex crimes from 10 to 20 years applies only to crimes that happened after the law was passed, according to the Department of Justice, says the Gazette.