Minn. college coach cleared in porn case off leave

  • Associated Press
  • December 19, 2012 - 10:53 PM

MANKATO, Minn. - A Minnesota college football coach cleared by a judge of child porn charges stemming from cellphone video of his naked children is no longer on administrative leave, but hasn't yet been reinstated atop the program, his school said Wednesday.

Minnesota State University, Mankato coach Todd Hoffner had been on leave since the videos were discovered on his university-issued phone last August. A judge last month tossed out the charges, agreeing with Hoffner's assertion that the video captured an innocent family moment.

Though Hoffner was cleared, school officials didn't immediately reinstate him, and he continued to watch from afar as the Mavericks played the final two games in a 13-1 season that carried them within a game of the NCAA Division II final.

In a brief two-paragraph statement late Wednesday night, the school said Hoffner's administrative leave had ended Monday. But the statement also said one of two complaints against Hoffner was still pending, and said Aaron Keen — who steered the Mavericks all season — remained in that capacity.

School spokesman Dan Benson, citing privacy laws, said he couldn't comment on the nature of that complaint, or another unspecified complaint that was investigated and resolved.

"The word `reinstated' would not be accurate," Benson said. "He is no longer on leave. He remains on the payroll ... but he has not assumed duties as the head football coach again at this time." Benson said he couldn't say whether Hoffner had returned to campus this week.

Hoffner's home number in Mankato is no longer listed. A message left at his attorney's office after hours was not immediately returned.

After he was cleared Nov. 30, Hoffner said he wanted to return to work. At the time, he said being cleared of the charges made him "so thankful to be waking up from this nightmare."

Hoffner was charged after a school employee found the video on his university-issued cellphone and notified authorities. Hoffner had taken his problematic phone to work to be checked out.

Hoffner testified earlier that his three young children asked him to videotape a skit they had concocted after taking a bubble bath. His wife defended him, as have supporters who even held candlelight vigils on his behalf.

A search of his home computer found no evidence of child porn, and social workers found no evidence that the couple's children had been abused. Hoffner said he had never even watched the video.

Minnesota State, Mankato is part of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, which has a policy prohibiting using university-issued cellphones or mobile devices for personal use.

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