High School Track Coach Charged With 'Child Seduction' After Former Athlete Comes Forward

A former track coach in Indiana faces charges of having an alleged fair with one of his athletes, according to Fox 59. James Eli Betts was an assistant track coach for the Franklin Community High School girls and boys teams from 2013 to 2015 but was rehired by the district on a part-time basis in February 2021 before the allegations came to light. Betts faces four counts of child seduction, which stems from allegations of a former athlete who said she and Betts exchanged explicit photos and engaged in sexual contact when he was her coach.

Court documents state that Betts and the teen, who has now graduated, started texting each other in the spring or summer of 2014 after the state track finals. It's also reported their communications "turned sexual in nature very quickly," and they exchanged nude photos. The girl was 16 years old at the time, and she alleged that Betts kept a "countdown" of when she would turn 18.

During the summer of 2014, the relationship became physical. The teen said Betts had her perform a sex act after Betts drove her home one night. She also revealed that she came over to Betts' house to have sex after letting her know his wife was out of town. They continued to exchange messages but not as often or as sexual in nature. Betts continued to keep in touch with the girl when she was a freshman in college and resigned as a track coach in January 2015.

The girl didn't realize the gravity of the situation until she was in college. She didn't report the situation at the time because Betts was no longer a coach but made the decision to come forward in March when a former college advisor told the girl that Betts was coaching again. The girl said she "did not want anyone ever to have to go through what she went through."

Police interviewed Betts on April 5, and he said she knew the girl in question but denied sending any inappropriate photos to her. Betts admitted to kissing and flirting with the girl, saying he was "not thinking straight." He also revealed that he had "tons of affairs" outside his marriage but with "people his own age."

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"Mr. Betts previously served as an assistant coach for the Franklin Community High School Girls and Boys track teams from 2013-2015," the school district said in a statement. "The allegation of misconduct happened during the previous coaching experience at FCHS. Mr. Betts had returned to the FCHS track coaching staff in February 2021. Franklin Community Schools followed the normal hiring process and protocols, including the Indiana State Statutory required expanded criminal history background check and child protection index search. This search did not reveal any conduct that would disqualify him from being a coach for FCHS."