The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 30, 2012

Hoffner: Child porn charges turned life into a nightmare (video)

(Continued)

MANKATO —

Fleming said Hoffner and his family hope to stay in the community and he wants his job back.

There has been support from many in the community, Hoffner said. An effort by school officials and others to shield their children from what was happening was effective at first. That became more difficult after Hoffner took the unusual step of testifying on his own behalf during an Oct. 31 hearing for the motion to dismiss the charges.

“It will take a village to raise these children and keep them from the nightmare,” Hoffner said.

During that hearing, he admitted to making the videos. He said his children had been taking a bath and he had no idea what they were going to do when they asked him to use his phone to record a skit.

Hoffner said Friday he’s sorry he made the “innocent and harmless” video due to the problems it has caused.

“At the time, I just thought I was being a good dad,” he said.

Fleming said he was troubled by one investigator’s incorrect description of what Hoffner said during a brief comment that is recorded on the video. Jerry Billiar, a Blue Earth County sheriff’s investigator, said in his report that Hoffner can be heard telling the children to “Do it again.” That information was used to justify a search warrant used to search Hoffner’s Eagle Lake home. No other evidence was found when computers taken from the home were searched.

In her ruling dismissing the charges, District Court Judge Krista Jass said Hoffner can only be heard saying, “Wow. Are you guys done,” and, “Is the show over.”

“At no time during either video does (Hoffner) direct the children’s actions; in fact, all of (Hoffner’s) statements on the videos are of a passive and inquisitorial nature,” Jass said in a memorandum explaining her order. “The camera never zooms in on any child or any area of any child. The focus of the videos is the children, generally, and not their genitalia. The children appear happy and playful in both videos.”

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