The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 31, 2012

UPDATE: (VIDEO) Hoffner testifies that his kids asked him to videotape their show

(Continued)

MANKATO — Opinions differ

The videos, along with a third video showing one of the daughters being awakened and sent to the bathroom, were found on Hoffner’s phone when he turned it in to a technician at the university for repairs. The videos were turned over to administrators who placed Hoffner on administrative leave and called the Mankato Police Department. Mankato investigators turned the case over to the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department after learning the videos had been created at Hoffner’s house in Eagle Lake.

Fleming also called Mankato Det. Cmdr. Matt DuRose, and detective Jerry Billiar and Capt. Rich Murry of the Sheriff’s Department as witnesses for the hearing.

DuRose said he was concerned enough about the videos to ask the Sheriff’s Department to continue the investigation. He also said he didn’t see a reason to arrest Hoffner after he watched the videos, even though possessing child pornography in Mankato would be a crime within his jurisdiction.

Billiar and Murry both said they were disturbed by the video but wanted to consult with Blue Earth County Attorney Michael Hanson before determining the videos were child pornography. Billiar said he asked for Hanson’s opinion again before making an arrest when Hoffner’s house was searched on Aug. 21.

Hanson, who didn’t call any witnesses for the hearing, said it’s common for law enforcement officers to consult with county attorneys during investigations. He also told Jass the fact that university officials, DuRose and sheriff’s investigators were concerned enough to keep moving the case forward showed there is enough probable cause to support the charges.

“Adults should not make lewd videos of children,” Hanson said. “And there’s no parental exception.”

Fleming said the progression of the case shows Hanson is the only person who considers the videos to be pornography. He also pointed out the bathroom video was included in the criminal complaint even though Hanson had told investigators it wasn’t pornography.

“He’s the only person — the only one who can say this is child pornography,” Fleming said. “This is it. Him.

“These are (Hoffner’s) children. He loves his children. He’s doing something they asked him to do, then he forgets it.”

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