Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dad Accused of Child Porn Says He Made Innocent Home Movies

Todd Hoffner. Police photo.

A Minnesota State University football coach accused of producing child porn has made his first public statements since his August arrest. During a hearing Wednesday, Todd Hoffner told a judge that the videos showing his three young children in the nude are nothing more than recordings of the kids goofing around. ”There was nothing inappropriate about any of these videos,” he said.

Judge Krista Jass did not make a ruling on whether felony child porn charges against Hoffner should be dismissed, giving attorneys until November 14 to file additional documents. The AP reports that Jass has not watched the videos, which police described as “disturbing.” Hoffner has not entered a plea.

Hoffner’s wife, Melodee, defended her husband after his arrest: “My family does what every family does. We take videos and pictures of our kids in all their craziness,” said Melodee, a licensed school counselor, adding, “I am fully aware of the signs and indicators of children who have been abused. And I assure you our children have not been exploited or abused.”

The felony child porn charges against Hoffner allege that in the videos, the children, ages 9, 8 and 5, are seen jumping and dancing naked. According to  a criminal complaint, Hoffner’s son, 5, is seen touching his genitals while the two girls bend over and spread their buttocks. In another video, the complaint says, the boy is seen wearing only a football helmet. A third video allegedly shows one of the girls sleeping at night, as a male voice tells her it’s time “to go potty.” As the girl gets up to go to the bathroom, the camera zooms in on the back of her underwear. According to Hoffner, there is a reasonable explanation for the last video: “One of my daughters has difficulty during the night and we decided to wake her up during the night to go the bathroom. When we told her about this, she wanted to see it.”

Police became aware of the videos after August 14, when Hoffner brought his phone to be fixed by a university IT professional, who saw the clips and alerted a supervisor.

Hoffner, a popular coach at Minnesota State, Mankato, has received an outpouring of community support after his arrest. A public statement issued by the Hoffner family read: “The Hoffners have received hundreds of encouraging cards, letters and e-mails from friends, community/civic leaders, business leaders, teachers, school administrators and former athletes who have competed for Todd expressing their concern and strong support.”

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