Skip to Content

Former local coach back in jail

A former University of California, Santa Barbara gymnastics coach is back in jail.

He’s charged with secretly video taping dozens of young girls in Oregon as they undressed.

Before that, Jeffrey Bettman had been accused of sexually molesting two girls in the Santa Barbara area more than a decade ago. Bettman was never convicted. It has been more than ten years since that case was heard in a civil court in Santa Barbara County.

But the attorney who represented the young victims at that time told News Channel 3, this case has haunted him and the families of the girls involved, ever since.

Detectives in Oregon say Jeffrey Bettman is a child predator, who’s been masquerading as a gymnastics coach for decades.

Bettman was first arrested in November. An undercover investigation revealed dozens of pictures and videotapes on his personal computer. They showed young girls changing in a makeshift dressing room during professional photo shoots.

Bettman was arrested a second time Wednesday morning. He’s now facing additional charges including encouraging child sex abuse.

“We’ve contacted young girls now going into their 20’s who have had contact with Bettman, and have been working with agencies on the west coast,” said Lt. Mike Anderson, with the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force.

Bettman coached in Santa Barbara from the 19-80’s until as recently as 2003.

Before he left, he was accused of molesting two of his athletes.

He was never convicted of a crime, and a jury in a civil suit found him not guilty.

Attorney Mark Cornwall represented the victims in that case. He said,

“There were so many right decisions made that could have convicted him right then and there, and he’d have been stopped ten years ago.”

Investigators say it is possible there are more victims in Santa Barbara, but those may fall outside the statute of limitations.

Despite Bettman’s arrest and these new charges, Cornwall said justice was not served.

“They can still bring a lawsuit against him. I believe there still is an open door and if not there should be.”

News Channel 3 reached out to Bettman’s attorney, but haven’t received any response.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Channel 3-12

Email the News Channel 3-12 Team


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content