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Former SMHS teacher risks going back to jail

Noah Scott Berman faces felony sexual abuse and witness tampering charges on accusations he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student. Medford police photo.

A former South Medford High School PE teacher risks being sent back to jail after the Jackson County District Attorney’s office claims he failed a polygraph while out on bail awaiting trial on felony sexual abuse charges.

Noah Scott Berman, 31, was found to be “clearly and conclusively deceptive” in his responses to three questions earlier this month surrounding his contact with the alleged victim of the pending sexual abuse case, according to an affidavit filed Monday by Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook in Jackson County Circuit Court.

On a May 14 polygraph, Berman answered “No” to questions about face-to-face contact with the alleged victim since Aug. 28, whether he’d had any electronic contact with the victim, and the question, “Besides your own kids, have you been all alone in a vehicle or room with anyone 17 or younger since Aug. 28, 2020?”

“The results of that test were that Mr. Berman was clearly and conclusively deceptive in his responses,” Cook states, drawing from the findings of a Jackson County Community Justice pretrial release officer.

Berman allegedly told a pretrial release officer that he was telling the truth.

“Mr. Berman then stated that that he was being truthful and his failed polygraph was because he was wrongfully accused of something he had not done,” Cook’s affidavit states.

Cook is requesting either that Berman be held without bail based on the polygraph results, or that he be held in jail on a bail amount of at least $250,000.

Berman’s lawyer, Justin Rosas, said in an email that he expects the court “to agree that Mr. Berman is innocent of violating his pretrial release conditions” based on a lack of credible evidence.

"There has been no allegation of contact by the party who is protected or her family,“ Rosas said. ”Often, polygraphs give incorrect results and are generally viewed with suspicion by courts, appellate courts and most of society.“

Rosas claims that asking his client to activate GPS monitoring while on pretrial release “would have been a much more objective and accurate predictor of behavior than having him take a polygraph.

A judge will decide whether to revoke Berman’s pretrial release at a June 7 hearing.

Berman taught PE at South Medford High School and was an assistant wrestling coach until the spring of last year, when he was charged with second- and third-degree sexual abuse on accusations he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a female student that began in November 2019. He is also charged with witness tampering on accusations that he instructed the teen not to disclose the abuse to investigators.

He has been out of jail on bond since his arrest in May of last year.

No trial date has yet been set in the case. A pretrial conference is set for June 14.

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