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High school teacher sentenced for sex with student

A former South Medford High School physical education teacher and wrestling coach was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of an underage student and one count for witness tampering

Noah Scott Berman, 31, who had been having “an ongoing and inappropriate sexual relationship” with a student, received the time in jail, along with a suspended sentence of two years in prison as well as five years of supervised probation.

Berman was also required to give up his teaching license, pay restitution — an amount will be determined later — and register as a sex offender for life.

The charges stemmed from a 2020 investigation by the Medford Police Department and Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force. An anonymous report was made first to Safe Oregon, a website that allows students, parents and school staff members to report safety threats at schools.

For several months, Berman engaged in inappropriate messaging, which led to outside-of-school meet-ups with his victim. He went on to making physical contact, including “physically touching the child,” then asked them to deny that anything happened if questioned, the Jackson County District Attorney’s office stated.

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission Sentencing Guidelines allow for up to five years in prison and a fine of $125,000 on each count for this type of crime, but can limit sentences because of a variety of factors, such as severity of the person’s actions, their criminal history and the victim’s input.

The DA’s office emphasized that Berman’s sentence was as stringent as circumstances allowed, given that he had no criminal history.

Four additional counts of third-degree sexual abuse were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Berman was a former champion wrestler at Phoenix High School.