The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 30, 2012

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

MANKATO — Describing the past three months as a nightmare, Minnesota State University Head Football Coach Todd Hoffner said Friday he was pleased that a Blue Earth County judge had the courage to dismiss child pornography charges that had been wrongly filed against him.

Now he and his wife, Melodee, are focusing on finding a way to make sure another family isn’t put through the same nightmare by what he described as a “small group of people” who have the power to harm an innocent person. Hoffner also said he’s not yet sure how that can be accomplished.

“The last 102 days have been long, painful and a nightmare my wife and I have had to endure,” Hoffner said Friday while making his first public statement about the charges. “Our lives have been turned upside down. We have suffered considerable mental, physical and emotional hardship.

“Today our minds are filled with more questions than answers. Throughout this process we’ve wondered how this process could have been handled differently, but, more importantly, how can we prevent this from happening to another innocent family in the future.”

Hoffner was placed on administrative leave and escorted off an MSU football practice field Aug. 17. Two nude videos of his three children, between the ages of 5 and 9, were found on the university-issued phone by an IT employee.

At the time, Hoffner didn’t know why he had been placed on leave. That changed four days later when he was arrested Aug. 21 for charges of creating and possessing child pornography. He spent the night in jail before he was brought into court, wearing a bright orange jail jumpsuit, and formally charged the following day. He posted a $40,000 bond for his release after the hearing.

Hoffner didn’t take any questions after the press conference at the Maschka, Riedy and Ries law offices in downtown Mankato. His lead attorney, Jim Fleming, said Hoffner’s employment status with the university hasn’t been resolved. In a news release the university said its investigation is pending and state law prohibits the release of any additional information at this point.

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