- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The football coach fired from Minnesota State, Mankato announced Tuesday that he will return to the job after an arbitrator ruled he was wrongfully terminated, saying the decision wasn’t easy but that it would help him and his family heal.

Todd Hoffner was fired last May for reasons undisclosed at the time. But the dismissal came after he was cleared of child pornography charges stemming from images of his children on a work-issued cellphone, accusations that Hoffner called the “most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life.”

“I believe that resuming my duties as head football coach will help heal that injury,” he said during a tearful news conference in which he took several breaks to compose himself. He said the last two years have been a “nightmare,” but that he always wanted to coach at Minnesota State, Mankato.

“I’m not interested in revenge. … I’m not a spiteful person,” he said, but added that the situation could have been handled differently.

Hoffner was hired in January as head coach at Minot State, and he said he would be “forever grateful” to the North Dakota school for hiring him when he thought he might never coach again. But he said he decided to go back to Mankato for simple reasons.

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Man accused of abusing 2 girls in ‘Maidens Group’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Authorities were searching Tuesday for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in a “Maidens Group” at his religious fellowship in rural Minnesota, where he told one victim she would remain a virgin because he was a “man of God,” according to a criminal complaint.

Victor Arden Barnard is facing 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct related to two young women who said they were abused for nearly a decade at his secluded River Road Fellowship. The 52-year-old was last known to be in the Spokane, Wash., area where the fellowship resettled soon after the investigation began in Minnesota, Pine County Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell said Tuesday.

Washington state’s fugitive task force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also are searching for him. People associated with the group in Washington have been uncooperative, Blackwell said.

According to the criminal complaint, the two woman were among about 10 girls and young women who lived apart from their families in a camp Barnard set up near Finlayson, about 90 miles north of Minneapolis. One woman alleged Barnard sexually abused her from the ages of 13 to 22, while the other said it occurred when she was 12 to 20.

Barnard kept the Maidens isolated and used “religious coercion and intimidation” to maintain his control, Blackwell said Tuesday, adding: “It’s certainly cult-like behavior.”

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Deputy shot, wounded in Norman County

PERLEY, Minn. (AP) - Authorities say a 19-year-old man from Fertile is under arrest for shooting a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop in northwestern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the Norman County deputy was wearing a bullet-resistant vest and was treated and released from a hospital.

The BCA says the deputy was conducting a traffic stop about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday near Perley. The deputy was arresting an 18-year-old man on a warrant when the man’s brother shot the deputy in the back.

The officer returned fire, but the suspect fled in the vehicle. He was arrested about two hours later at a vacant farm about three miles north of the shooting.

The deputy’s name was not released. He’s on standard administrative leave. The BCA is investigating.

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Police say Moorhead man tried to kill girlfriend

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Minnesota man was being held on $1 million bond Tuesday after being charged with attacking his girlfriend in their North Dakota apartment, including beating her with a metal bat, pulling her around by her hair and trying to drown her in the bathtub.

Michael Karau, 34, faces multiple charges including first-degree attempted murder, assault and felony domestic assault, according to court documents filed in Clay County court. The documents show that Karau’s girlfriend had several broken bones, bruises across her body and clumps of hair missing from her head. She also needed 15 stiches in her lip and ear.

Karau was being held in the Clay County Jail with his bail set at $1 million without conditions and $600,000 with conditions. He applied for a public defender but was denied. Court documents didn’t show an attorney for him Tuesday. He is due back in court April 25.

Karau’s girlfriend told police at the hospital that Karau was drunk when he came home from work early Thursday morning, became angry and started punching her, according to court documents. As the attack escalated, she said, Karau stomped on her, bit her and hit her with a metal baseball bat. She said the abuse went on for several hours.

She said he also strangled her, dragged her around by her hair and later, when she thought he was going to help her clean up in the bathroom, tried to drown her in the bathtub. She said he took her phone so she couldn’t call for help.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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