The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 27, 2012

Hoffner's wife confident children weren't abused

By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — Calling Mankato a great place to raise her children, Melodee Hoffner said charges of child pornography that have been filed against her husband, MSU head football coach Todd Hoffner, are ridiculous and baseless.

She said the videos of  their children, ages 9, 8 and 5, are just videos of children being silly and having fun.

"I am a licensed school counselor and I¹m fully aware of the signs and indicators of children who have been abused. And I assure you, our children have not been exploited or abused," she said at a news conference this morning at the Mankato law firm that is defending her husband.

"They arehealthy physically, mentally and emotionally and have normal relationships with friends, family and teachers."

She said she¹s confident her husband didn¹t abuse their children.

"I hope someone with authority will take a new look at this and see it for what it is," she said.

A criminal complaint filed against Hoffner describes three videos, including two where the couple's son and two daughters are dancing around naked. A third video allegedly shows one of the daughters being woken up to go to the bathroom. The video shows the camera focusing on the back of the girl's underwear, the complaint said.

Melodee Hoffner said the video was shot because their daughter wanted to see it.

"When we would wake her up, she would be half asleep and would bump into walls and such and not remember it," she said. "When we told her about this, she wanted to see it. She was clothed in this video. That's one of the videos described in the complaint against my husband."

Todd Hoffner is being defended by the Maschka, Riedy and Ries law firm. Jerry Maschka described Hoffner¹s criminal charges and administrative leave from coach's duties as "a cascade of decisions that were made by well-intentioned individuals and resulted in a terrible mistake."

He said he hoped the university would reinstate Hoffner.

Attorney Jim Fleming wouldn't comment on whether Todd Hoffner plans to take any legal action in civil court to be reinstated as head football coach.