Gymnastics coach could face child porn charges in Josephine County

Jeffrey Scott Bettman, 54, appears via monitor in Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia's courtroom during a bail hearing Thursday.

A Southern Oregon gymnastics coach and sports photographer facing child pornography charges in Jackson County for allegedly videotaping girls while they changed for photo shoots may see additional charges in Josephine County, court officials said.

Prosecutor J. Adam Peterson said at a bail hearing this afternoon in Jackson County Circuit Court that Jeffrey Scott Bettman, 54, was a "flight risk," adding the District Attorney's Office has been cooperating with investigators in Josephine County regarding "11 different victims" there.

"He is looking at significant prison time," Peterson said.

Half of the courtroom was filled with alleged victims from both counties, their family members and concerned neighbors of Bettman. All declined to comment on the case in court or after the proceedings.

Bettman has been held in the Jackson County Jail on $2 million bail since his April 10 arrest at his home outside Medford. That amount was reduced to $500,000 today by Judge Lorenzo Mejia, who ordered Bettman to wear an electronic monitoring device and avoid all contact with minors should he make bail.

Bettman coached gymnastics at the Southern Oregon Gymnastics Academy and the shuttered Rogue Valley School of Gymnastics in the last decade. He most recently coached at Ultimate Sports Gymnastics in Grants Pass. Bettman also was a sports photographer, said Detective Josh Nieminen from the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force.

Bettman allegedly took videos of students while they were changing their clothes for private photo sessions at the gymnastics businesses over the past nine years. The images were taken without the victims' consent or knowledge, Nieminen said.

Bettman has been indicted on 30 charges: 10 counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and 10 counts each of first- and second-degree encouraging child sex abuse.

Using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months. Each Measure 11 charge is related to a separate underage victims.

Nieminen said police are still searching to determine whether there are more victims, but he stressed that investigators suspect only students who booked private photo sessions with Bettman were targeted.

— Sanne Specht

Read more in Friday's Mail Tribune.

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