Associated Press, Published December 28 2012
Mankato coach cleared of child porn reassignedMANKATO, Minn. – A football coach at Minnesota State University-Mankato who was cleared of child pornography charges that stemmed from videos found on his cellphone of his naked children clowning around after a bath, has been reassigned, the university said Friday.
Todd Hoffner, who was the Mavericks head football coach, has been given the position of assistant athletic director for facilities development, the university said in a news release issued late Friday. However, Hoffner’s civil attorney, Chris Madel, told the Star Tribune that his client has no intentions of abiding by the university’s decision.
“We intend to fight the university until Mr. Hoffner is restored as head coach of the successful football team he created,” Madel told the newspaper.
Phone messages left after hours for Madel and the attorney for Hoffner’s union were not immediately returned to The Associated Press on Friday night.
The university release said the reassignment would take effect immediately. Hoffner would be responsible for helping develop the school’s master plan for athletics and recreation facilities.
University spokesman Dan Benson said in an email to the AP that the school could not comment on whether Hoffner’s reassignment was a mutual decision.
Aaron Keen will remain acting head football coach for the Mavericks, the school said. Keen acted as head coach all season.
“Minnesota State Mankato will be making additional decisions regarding the head football coach position in the coming weeks,” the news release said.
The Free Press of Mankato reported that Hoffner asked for an injunction earlier this month to keep the police investigative reports in his case sealed. A Twin Cities television station had asked to see them. Hoffer is seeking 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, according to the newspaper.
Jass ordered prosecutors to gather all investigative reports and turn them over to Hoffner’s attorney in the criminal case, 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 possession of child porn 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 Hoffner was no longer on administrative leave but hadn’t reinstated him as coach. The university didn’t give reasons for the decision, citing data privacy laws. But the school did say in the statement it was still investigating a complaint against Hoffner. University officials didn’t elaborate.
Connie Howard, an attorney for the union representing Hoffner, told the AP 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, but said the union was challenging it.
It’s not clear where the suspension stands now that the university has reassigned Hoffner.
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.