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Forum News Service, Published December 03 2013

Man facing child porn charges coached youth baseball

DULUTH - A 53-year-old Duluth man recently charged with distributing child pornography has served as an assistant coach for the Duluth East High School baseball team for the past three years.

Duluth East head coach John Rudolph said Mark John Branovan had planned to return in 2014 but on Tuesday said that now seems unlikely, in light of recent allegations.

Although Branovan received a small stipend, Rudolph characterized him as more of a volunteer. Rudolph said he knew of no issues that arose from Branovan’s contact with the team. Branovan underwent a background check before joining the coaching staff, Rudolph said.

Branovan had no prior criminal record and has entered a not guilty plea in response to the charges.

The suspect also formerly served as a coach for the Duluth Eastern Little League, but he has not been involved with that program for the past three years, said league President Corbin Smyth.

He said Branovan served as a volunteer coach for five or six years. No concerns involving Branovan’s conduct had come to the league’s attention, Smyth said.

Branovan is director of hospitality at St. Luke’s hospital. He has been out on a personal leave since Nov. 27, according to a hospital spokeswoman.