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Mankato’s Latest Brush With Fame – The Todd Hoffner Child Porn Case

The Mankato Child Porn Case – Todd Hoffner 

Mankato has made national news yet again, but not for the greatest reason, Minnesota State University-Mankato’s head football coach, Todd Hoffner, has been arrested and charged with  multiple counts of using minors in a sexual performance and possession of child pornography.

These are very serious charges and with the current public opinion of Penn State and football coaches, now is not the time to be charged with these crimes (as if there ever is a good time!). It appears that Jim Fleming is representing Mr. Hoffner. Mr. Fleming is an excellent defense attorney and it looks like he might have a very good case defending Mr. Hoffner. Why do I say it might be a good case for the Defense?  Good question, let me lay out the reasons below:

  1. Bail was set at $10,000. This is usually a good indicator of how serious the charges are (and if the state has the evidence they need for a conviction). To put it in context, when former Minnesota State Bar Association President-Elect Aaron Biber was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, he had a Million dollars bail put on him. To put it another way, the mandatory bail for a second time DWI in Minnesota is…$12,000. This sends a message that perhaps this isn’t quite the case the prosecution thinks it is. (It should be noted that the presiding Judge was Judge Harrelson, a great visiting Judge who often gives defendants the benefit of the doubt on bail issues).
  2. The videos could be harmless. Now, I haven’t seen the videos, but reading the Mankato Free Press article it seems as if the videos could truly be harmless. They are pictures/videos his children doing, arguably, what young children, that is running around and acting silly, sometimes naked. If that is the case, from the way the Free Press wrote the article, it sounds like the prosecution may have a tough case.
  3. It appears there are no other videos/pictures. I have defended a lot of child pornography cases in my career, and while every case is different, what I see a lot is that purveyors of child porn don’t just have one or two videos…they have one or two THOUSAND. People who are “into” child porn tend to be collectors and I can say that it’s pretty rare when there are only a few pictures or videos in a child porn case. This will be argued to the jury, and will help the defense.
  4. No other “victims”. I use the term victim without any judgment as to innocence or guilt, it’s just how we describe the kids in this case as “victims”. The worst thing for the defense would be if some other children come forward with similar claims. It’s one thing to take videos of your own children, it’s another to take videos of the neighbor kids.