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Minn. coach’s wife: porn charges ‘ridiculous’

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MANKATO, MINN. (AP) - Child pornography charges against the football coach at Minnesota State, Mankato, are groundless and images on his cellphone are innocent family memories, his wife insisted Monday.

Todd Hoffner, 46, of Eagle Lake was charged last week with two felony counts related to child pornography after authorities said they found nude images of his children on his cellphone.

"The charges against my husband are ridiculous and baseless," Melodee Hoffner said at her husband's attorney's office. "My family does what every family does _ we take videos and pictures of our kids in all their craziness. My husband would not ever abuse our children or any other children."

Melodee Hoffner said she is a licensed school counselor and knows the signs of children who have been abused. Their three children love to dance, play and act silly and to be photographed and recorded, she said.

"I assure you our children have not been exploited or abused _ they are healthy physically, mentally and emotionally; and have normal relationships with friends, family and teachers," she said.

She took no questions.

The Blue Earth County assistant prosecutor handling the case did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The complaint against Hoffner said the coach brought his university-issued cellphone to school officials earlier this month because it wasn't working. He was issued a new phone, and was told technicians would retrieve videos and pictures from his old phone.

A technician came across the videos in question and authorities were contacted.

Hoffner faces two criminal charges: one count of using minors in a sexual performance or pornographic work, and one count of possessing child pornography. He is free on bail and is on leave pending a university investigation.

Todd Hoffner is entering his fifth year as head football coach at Minnesota State, Mankato.

Melodee Hoffner said she and her husband were "in complete shock" when he was arrested. She said when a police officer described the videos on her husband's phone, she thought, "Those are our family videos they are talking about."

"I hope that someone with authority will take a new look at this and see it for what it is," she said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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