Associated Press, Published December 28 2012
Mankato coach cleared of child porn wants files sealed
Hoffner has been taken off administrative leave, but he hasn't been reinstated as head coach and is facing a 20-day, unpaid school suspension in January for unspecified reasons. He sued the state and Blue Earth County earlier this month in an effort to keep the police reports private, after a Twin Cities television station asked to see them. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order that would keep anyone from disseminating the investigative file.
District Court Judge Krista Jass ruled last week that the reports will remain private until they can be reviewed, the Mankato Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/ZFYA0c ).
Jass ordered prosecutors to gather all investigative reports and turn them over to Hoffner's attorney, Jim Fleming. He'll be allowed to file a sealed list of information that he believes should be kept from the public. After receiving Fleming's list, Jass will decide what should remain sealed.
Fleming said in a court affidavit that releasing the information would harm Hoffner.
“Plaintiff Mr. Hoffner has an ongoing investigation relative to his employment as a head football coach at (MSU),” Fleming's affidavit said. “Release of private non-public data could irreparably harm (Hoffner) with respect to that investigation that a civil lawsuit for damages would not fully compensate.”
Hoffner was charged with child porn possession in August after school officials found videos of his naked children on his work-issued cellphone, which he had turned in to be repaired. Jass dismissed the criminal charges last month after concluding that the short videos of his children acting silly after a bath were not child porn and showed nothing illegal.
Last week, the university said it had taken Hoffner off of administrative leave but hadn't reinstated him as coach. In a statement, the university didn't give reasons for the decision, citing data privacy laws. But the school did say it was still investigating a complaint against Hoffner. University officials didn't elaborate.
Connie Howard, an attorney for the union representing Hoffner, told The Associated Press by email last week that Hoffner was being suspended without pay for 20 days starting Jan. 7. She didn't give the reason for the suspension.
Fleming told the newspaper that he wants the information sealed to protect Hoffner's privacy. Investigators went through computer files and took pictures of items in his house.
“We're not hiding anything from anybody,” Fleming said.
Information from: The Free Press, http://www.mankatofreepress.com
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