School district investigating misconduct allegations against Manatee High assistant football coach

ejohnson@bradenton.comFebruary 7, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee High School assistant football coach Rod Frazier is under investigation regarding allegations of misconduct with a student, according to the Manatee County School District.

With the exception of a paid administrative leave notice for Nov. 15, Frazier's personnel file contains nothing related to the allegations.

"He was reinstated and is at work now," Mike Barber, a school district spokesman, said Thursday.

Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said he heard about the allegations through news reports for the first time Thursday afternoon and immediately sent a detective to the school district administrative office.

"I do know they had a file on the incident which a school district lawyer turned over to us and we brought it to our office to review," Radzilowski said Thursday night. "We have intentions of reaching out to the young girl and her parents to see if they will consent to an interview with us."

Radzilowski said his detectives will begin analyzing the file, which apparently contains a letter sent by the student to the district.

"I haven't seen the letter or the file," Radzilowski said. "Until we know exactly what it says, when they received it, I can't say for sure if there will be charges against anyone. All that information will

be provided to the state attorney to decide if they want to press criminal charges against anyone."

After his one day of paid leave, Frazier returned to the sidelines on Nov. 16 for the Hurricanes' 65-12 victory over St. Petersburg Northeast in the Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal.

Frazier's attorney Edwin Mulock said Debbie Horne, former professional standards specialist, told Frazier in December the allegations were unfounded.

"When she left, it hung there," Mulock said.

Assistant Superintendent Scott Martin began looking at the case in January when the school received a letter with more information on the case, Mulock said. Martin has not returned phone calls requesting comment.

Mulock said the allegations of inappropriate contact with a student are rooted in "rumors and innuendos and emails and text messages and Facebook."

"To my knowledge there was never any allegation of unlawful touching, just inappropriate contact," Mulock said. "From what I can tell, he has done nothing inappropriate whatsoever."

An official with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said they, also, did not have knowledge of the allegations prior to news reports Thursday.

"If it turns out to be criminal and they (the school district) did not notify us, I will not be a happy camper," Radzilowski added.

Mulock said Frazier, who has worked as a parent disciplinary liaison since 2006, comes in contact with many students.

"He's been a mentor, a person they go to. He tries to counsel and help them," Mulock said. "In some of those I'm sure there may have been text messages back and forth. The kids trust him and come to him with all kinds of problems."

Mulock is afraid these allegations will act as a deterrent to Frazier's goal of helping children.

"It's a risk a teacher takes every day when they try to involve themselves with students to help them out," Mulock said. "I think it's a shame, and it's not fair the way it's coming down. It was handled appropriately, initially."

Calls to Interim Superintendent David Gayler, Manatee High School Principal Don Sauer and Manatee Athletic Director and football coach Joe Kinnan were not immediately returned Thursday.

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