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Gymnastics teacher admits to porn charges

A former gymnastics teacher and photographer pleaded guilty Thursday to federal child pornography charges and possession of recordings of students changing in locker rooms.

In a plea agreement letter filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Medford, Jeffrey Scott Bettman of Medford admitted to 13 federal charges, including using a minor to produce visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct, receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography.

At the time of his arrest on Nov. 2, 2012, Bettman worked as a gymnastic teacher at Unlimited Sports Gymnastics Center in Grants Pass, and as a sports photographer. He had worked as a gymnastics coach for 36 years at facilities throughout Southern Oregon.

The Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force first obtained probable cause after after finding 219 child porn files, including videos and images, that came from Bettman's IP address.  When authorities searched Bettman's home outside Medford city limits in the 1800 block of Camp Baker Road, they found CDs and DVDs labeled with initials.

In total, the document signed by Bettman said he possessed 469 videos of 49 female gymnasts ranging in age from 8 to 16 years old, who were unaware that they were being recorded. According to the document, Bettman instructed victims not to wear any underwear during photo shoots, claiming it would show under their leotards in the photographs. On seized thumb drives, authorities found 220 still images created from the videos when victims were undressed. Bettman said he never shared the images or videos he captured.

Also found on a seized thumb drive were 400 child pornography images downloaded from the Internet. On a seized Apple PowerBook G4 laptop, authorities found 97 images and 14 videos depicting the sexual abuse of prepubescent minors.

Prosecutors in the case are seeking a sentence of 25 years in the crime, for which the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 13 in federal court in Medford.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at nmorgan@mailtribune.com.

Jeffrey Scott Bettman, shown on courtroom monitor. Mail Tribune file photo