Disturbing allegations have emerged against an Oregon man who is accused of using a youth gymnastics and photography business to secretly feed his own alleged desire for child pornography.
As reported by the Mail Tribune and Medford ABC affiliate KDRV, Jeffrey Bettman was arrested Friday and arraigned on Monday on 30 child pornography charges in connection with photos he allegedly took while simultaneously running youth gymnastics organizations and a connected sports photography business. The photos in question allegedly document a number of then-young athletes changing for private photo sessions taken at different local gymnastics venues across Southern Oregon.
The middle-aged man began coaching gymnastics in Oregon at the early part of this century, with police claiming that his illicit photographs could date back as far as 2003. A Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force detective told the Mail Register that young gymnasts appear to be Bettman's primary victim, but investigators looking into the case would not rule out further discovery of other victims who had used Bettman's photography services.
Bettman had worked as a coach at no fewer than three youth gymnastics facilities in Oregon since 2003, most recently helping head up the gymnastics division at Unlimited Sports in Grants Pass, Oregon since 2008. According to Unlimited Sports owner Lisa Austin, Bowman's program at the facility included some 350 young gymnasts.
There is no indication as of yet about how Bettman was able to capture the illegal photographs in question, but police have reached out to all of Oregon asking for any parents whose children had private photo sessions with the accused pedophile to come forward in hopes of identifying any prospective victims.
The raft of allegations highlight the deep concern that often comes with the larger "industrial complex" that develops around youth sports, with ancillary businesses emerging to take advantage of young athletes' passion about extra curricular activities and their parents' desire to document those precious years.
The Bettman case certainly provides ample proof of the need for more oversight, regardless of where that comes from. In the meantime, authorities and parents in Oregon will hope that the disturbing details that have emerged against the longtime coach are not as damaging as they appear.