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Coach again admits to secret filming

A former gymnastics coach who was sentenced earlier this month to prison for secretly filming young female gymnasts while they dressed admitted Friday to charges in Jackson County Circuit Court stemming from recordings involving close to a dozen victims.

Jeffrey Scott Bettman, 57, admitted Friday to 10 felony counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, admitting he secretly recorded named victims between December 2005 and January 2008. He was sentenced to 210 months in prison, which he will serve concurrently with his 300-month sentence handed to him in the U.S. District Court. No probation was issued in the plea agreement because his federal sentence included lifetime post-prison supervision.

Before entering his pleas Friday, Bettman's lawyer, Jeni Feinberg, said she believed the charge of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct didn't accurately fit his crime of secretly recording the children, but she conceded a crime had been committed. Feinberg said her client never wanted to put his victims through the trauma of a trial.

Bettman showed little emotion and said little as he entered guilty pleas to the 10 charges. Feinberg said Bettman already had issued a lengthy apology to his victims and the sport of gymnastics during his federal sentencing hearing Aug. 11, when victims and their families packed the federal courtroom to testify against the former coach and gymnastics photographer about how they were affected by being secretly filmed.

No victims appeared for the Friday hearing, although Senior Deputy District Attorney Terry Smith-Norton submitted a letter from one victim's family to Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe, which was not read aloud. (Corrected Aug. 27)

Feinberg said her client has been forthcoming since the beginning of the investigation in 2012, which began after the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes task force caught Bettman exchanging child pornography files online. Twenty felony charges of encouraging child sexual abuse, which alleged he downloaded recordings of children being abused on specific dates between August 2010 and November 2012, were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Bettman was ordered to repay damages estimated to total $6,333, plus fines and fees. Feinberg said her client has no assets, is "essentially bankrupt" and will be 80 years old before he's released from prison.

Federal court documents tallied 65 known victims, 49 based in Oregon and the rest from California, whom Bettman used to amass a collection of 469 videos and 220 photos.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Correction: Senior Deputy District Attorney Terry Smith-Norton prosecuted Bettman at the hearing. The story printed Aug. 27 named the incorrect prosecutor. 

Attorney Jeni Feinberg argues on behalf of Jeffrey Bettman before his guilty pleas and sentencing Friday for 10 felony counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct. Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta