With his next court hearing on child pornography charges less than 24 hours away, friends and neighbors of Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner plan to show him their support tonight with a candlelight vigil outside his home in Eagle Lake, Minn.
The vigil, organized by Kristine Schimek, a family friend, will be held from 7 to 7:30 p.m. in the southern Minnesota community a few miles east of Mankato.
“It’s just going to be a gathering of friends and supporters to let them know that as tomorrow goes forth they are surrounded by a lot of people who care for them and support them through their trials,” Schimek said.
Hoffner, the head coach of Minnesota State University, Mankato, faces two felony counts of child pornography afater three videos of his three children dancing naked and touching themselves were found on his campus-issued cellphone. His attorney, who has viewed the videos and has consistently said there is nothing sexual or graphic in them, filed a motion last week to have the charges dismissed. A hearing on the matter will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Blue Earth County District Court.
“We want to support that family and hope Todd gets back to coaching,” Schimek said.
Hoffner has been on paid administrative leave for the past two months pending the outcome of a university investigation.
Earlier Tuesday, the Hoffner family issued a statement thanking those who have supported them since the coach was arrested and charged in August.
“The Hoffner family expresses their sincere gratitude to everyone who has reached out to them during this challenging and difficult time,” the statement said, adding that the coach has received “hundreds of encouraging cards, letters and e-mails” from friends, community leaders and former athletes who played for Hoffner.
“The family is overwhelmed by these compassionate and thoughtful expressions,” the statement said. The outreach “has been a source of strength and encouragement in these trying times both personally and professionally.”