- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Minn. football coach says videos innocent
MANKATO, MINN. (AP) - A Minnesota football coach accused of making pornographic videos of his children told a judge Wednesday that the images merely show a skit that his children came up while in the bathtub and asked him to record.
Minnesota State, Mankato, head coach Todd Hoffner’s testimony as he asked a judge to dismiss the felony charges against him were his first public comments since he was escorted off a practice field in August, shortly after the university found the images on his work-issued cellphone. Hoffner has been on leave since then.
Hoffner, 46, of Eagle Lake, testified that he had told his three children to go take a bubble bath last June so he could get some work done. Hoffner said the children later came down in towels and asked him to videotape them. He said he never directed the kids, and never watched the video afterward or showed it to anyone.
The images, in which some of the children were naked, showed nothing more than the children being silly, laughing and dancing, Hoffner said.
“There was nothing inappropriate about any of these videos,” Hoffner said.
Hoffner’s wife, Melodee, has defended him, calling the videos innocent family moments that were misinterpreted by authorities. Social workers found no evidence the couple’s children had been abused, and a search of Hoffner’s home computer found no evidence of child porn.
Hoffner’s attorney, Jim Fleming, called three veteran law officers who have worked on the case to the stand Wednesday to try to show they had doubts about whether the videos amounted to child pornography.
But under questioning by prosecutor Mike Hanson, the investigators said they found the videos troubling and that they consulted closely with the Blue Earth County attorney's office simply to find out what laws applied and how to proceed.
Mankato police Cmdr. Matt DuRose acknowledged there was a question in his mind about whether the videos were child pornography, but said he wasn’t claiming they weren’t.
“What I’d seen was disturbing,” said Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Detective Jerry Billiar.
“I would say it was very disturbing,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Rich Murry.
The videos are under a court seal, and Judge Krista Jass had not viewed them as of Wednesday.
Hanson said in his closing statement that the decision on whether the videos are pornographic should be left to a jury and disputed the claim that they’re innocent family fun.
“Adults should not make videos of children in lewd poses. Period,” he said.
Jass didn’t immediately rule on the motion to dismiss the charges. She gave attorneys until Nov. 14 to file additional briefs. She did not set a date for the next hearing. While Hoffner maintains his innocence, he has not yet entered a plea.
By Tammy Bruce
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Bush to blame for Ukraine
- Christine O'Donnell eager to re-engage in political debate
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- U.S. tasks Navy destroyer to Black Sea amid Ukraine tensions
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again