LAKE MONROE, FLORIDA – April 17, 2014
Yesterday, national newspapers featured the story of Todd Hoffner, the Minnesota State University Coach who, in 2012, was fired and charged for the alleged; “use of a minor to engage in a sexual performance … and possession of a pornographic work involving minors”.
Looking at headlines from 2012, the media was very quick to indict Coach Hoffner, comparing him to Jerry Sandusky and calling him a monster. However, once the dust settled and the investigation proceeded, the courts dropped the charges and the public learned that the alleged “sexual performance” and “pornographic work” were camera-phone videos of Hoffner’s own children post-bath. Probably the same bath time photos or videos that have been taken in most American homes.
Fortunately, Coach Hoffner had the financial resources and fortitude to fight and after being fired from his tenured Coaching position and having his reputation destroyed, was successful in having the criminal charges dropped and following a two year lawsuit for wrongful termination, compelled the University to rehire him.
What if Coach Hoffner hadn’t fought back? What if he’d reluctantly taken a plea rather than face decades in prison? How would the rest of his life be living under the stigma of being a sex offender and perceived no differently from Jerry Sandusky?
Life for Coach Hoffner would probably be much like the lives of the over 60,000 registrants in Florida, some of which are innocent or committed benign offenses, most of whom are extremely Low-Risk, but all of whom are plagued by a horrible public perception and hysteria perpetuated by politicians looking for votes and media looking for ratings.