The Pryor Times

Z_CNHI News Service

April 10, 2014

Big win for college coach wrongly accused of child porn

MANKATO, Minn. — An emotional saga that began with a child pornography accusation 18 months ago ended in final victory Thursday for the ex-football coach of Minnesota State University-Mankato who was fired even though the charges against him were found groundless and dismissed.

A state arbitrator ruled the university wrongfully terminated football coach Todd Hoffner last May for videos found on his school-issued cellphone of his nude and partially clothed young children acting playful after bathing at home.

The arbitrator ordered Hoffner’s reinstatement to his four-year contract along with back pay for lost earnings from his six-figure salary.

Hoffner was suspended in August 2012 when a school technician noticed the videos on his phone while repairing it. He was arrested four days later on child pornography charges, but three months later a judge threw out the charges, ruling the videos did not meet the legal definition of child pornography.

“The videos under consideration here contain nude images of defendant's minor children dancing and acting playful after a bath,” said Judge Krista Jass. “That is all they contain."

But Hoffner never regained his coaching job. Upon dismissal of the charges he was assigned to administrative duties in the athletic department, and then fired six months later. He was hired by Minot, N.D., State University as head football coach in January.

Hoffner insisted all along there was nothing inappropriate in the videos. He said his children – then ages 9, 8 and 5 – were simply acting silly. He said he was an innocent victim of authorities acting overzealously in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at Penn State University.

Christopher Madel, Hoffner’s arbitration attorney, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune the overseers of the Mankato university should now “clean house” and remove those officials who pursued the pornography charges and then fired Hoffner.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014