The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 28, 2012

Investigative files sealed in Hoffner case

MANKATO — A Minnesota State University football coach, who is hoping to keep his job, has filed a civil lawsuit asking a judge to keep investigation reports from a dismissed criminal case sealed from the public.

Todd Hoffner, who hasn’t served in his position as head football coach since August, had been charged with child pornography for having nude videos of his children on his university-issued cell phone. The charges were dismissed in November after District Court Judge Krista Jass reviewed the short videos and concluded they didn’t contain anything illegal.

Shortly after the charges were dismissed, a Twin Cities television news station filed a request to review the investigation reports that usually become public after a criminal case is closed. Hoffner’s attorney, Jim Fleming, responded by filing a request for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction that would seal the reports until they can be reviewed.

Jass granted the request last week. She also ordered prosecutors to gather all of the reports created by Blue Earth County sheriff’s investigators and other agencies, then turn them over to Fleming for review. Fleming will be allowed to file a sealed list of information he believes should be kept from the public. After receiving Fleming’s list, Jass will review the information and decide what should remain sealed, her Dec. 20 order said.

Hoffner was placed on paid administrative leave from the university after the videos were found on his phone. He had turned the phone in for repairs.

Earlier this month, university officials said Hoffner had been taken off administrative leave but not reinstated as head coach. A news release said Hoffner was being placed on a 20-day unpaid suspension starting Jan. 7. An attorney with the union representing Hoffner also said an effort by the university to place Hoffner on 20-day unpaid suspension is being challenged.

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