Central California Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Abducting and Sexually Abusing an Oregon Minor He Met Online
MEDFORD, Ore – Jeffrey Scott Bettman, 57, of Medford, Oregon, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken to 25 years in prison, based on his January 2016 guilty pleas to eleven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography. At the sentencing hearing, some of Bettman’s former gymnasts and their parents testified about the emotional trauma Bettman’s crimes caused them. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Aiken followed the prosecution recommendation and sentenced Bettman to 25 years in prison, to be followed by supervised release for the rest of his life. The court also ordered the forfeiture of the laptop computers, camera and other equipment Bettman used to commit his crimes.
Bettman, who worked as a gymnastics coach for over 36 years in Oregon and California first came to the attention of law enforcement during an online undercover investigation in which he offered to share images of child pornography that he downloaded from the internet. On November 2, 2012, a search warrant was executed at Bettman’s residence. Bettman admitted that he worked on the side as a photographer and had secretly recorded his young gymnasts with a hidden camera while they were changing for photo shoots. During a review of DVDs seized from Bettman’s residence, law enforcement discovered 469 hidden camera videos of 49 identified gymnastic students ranging in age from 8-16 years old, along with 220 still images created from the videos. Most of the victims were completely nude during the changing process, and the still images made by Bettman focused on the victims’ genitalia.
Bettman also admitted that he possessed, received and distributed images of child pornography via the internet. While there was no evidence that Bettman distributed the pornographic images of the gymnasts he covertly videotaped, Bettman admitted that he did distribute images of child pornography that he downloaded from the internet.
“People in positions of trust have a special duty to protect our children, and Bettman, a gymnastics coach, violated that duty,” said Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Thanks to the dedication of an amazing team of law enforcement agents, and Assistant U. S. Attorneys working with dedicated victim-witness advocates from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, defendant, Bettman, finally faced his day of reckoning for two decades of horrific sexual abuse conduct. People who abuse children are too often able to manipulate and scare their victims in order to avoid detection. The sentence handed down by the Honorable Judge Ann Aiken should send a clear message to everyone in the community—abuse our vulnerable children and you will be held accountable.”
This case was investigated by the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, the Medford, Grants Pass and Klamath Police Departments, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judith Harper and Amy Potter prosecuted the case.