Cleared Coach Wants Files Sealed
Mankato, Minn. (ap) — A football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, who was cleared of child pornography charges last month that stemmed from videos found on his cellphone of his naked children clowning around after a bath, wants to keep the police investigative reports sealed.
Todd Hoffner has been taken off administrative leave, but hasn’t been reinstated as head coach and is facing a 20-day, unpaid school suspension in January for unspecified reasons.
Earlier this month, he asked for an injunction in an effort to keep the police reports private, after a Twin Cities television station asked to see them. Hoffner 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, The Free Press of Mankato reported.
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 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 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, but said the union is challenging it.
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.