Police investigation into Manatee High coach Rod Frazier nears end

ejohnson@bradenton.comMarch 2, 2013 

BRADENTON -- An investigation into allegations of a Manatee High School parent liaison and assistant football coach's inappropriate conduct with a student is winding down, according to Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski.

The Bradenton Police Department began its investigation Feb. 7 after allegations that Roderick Frazier had inappropriate contact with a former student surfaced in the media.

"We're finishing up," Radzilowski said Friday afternoon. "We've interviewed over 50 people, a combination of all kinds of people -- students, former students, teachers, administrators. We went wherever the interview led us. We're looking toward the end."

Radzilowski said everything obtained by detectives will be passed to the State Attorney's Office to determine whether to file criminal charges. Detectives have been working alongside a representative from the state attorney's Crimes Against Children division since Feb. 11.

"That's entirely up to the state attorney," Radzilowski said. "There are still maybe a few interviews to finish up and some forensic evidence we haven't gotten back from the lab yet."

Radzilowski would not comment when asked if any sign of criminal activity has been found. He would not say if additional investigations have started as a result of this case.

Frazier, who has been an assistant football coach for the Hurricanes since 2001 and a parent liaison since 2006, was placed on indefinite paid administrative leave effective Feb. 8.

He will remain on leave "until the investigation is complete. We'll see what the results are," said Mike Barber, Manatee schools spokesman.

Frazier was previously placed on a one-day paid administrative leave Nov. 15 pending an investigation by the school district's Office of Professional Standards. Assistant Superintendent Scott Martin began looking at the case in January when the school received a letter with more information on the case.

Frazier continues to deny the allegations through his attorney, Edwin Mulock.

"I just haven't seen anything that's criminal or in violation of the law," Mulock said. "I don't expect anything to happen. I think it's a witch hunt."

Mulock said several students, former students, school employees and legal representatives complained to him about the detectives' conduct during interviews.

"The Bradenton Police Department is using unbelievable tactics," Mulock said, citing complaints of intimidation, badgering and laughing during questioning. "It doesn't seem professional to me. It's like it's the first case they've ever handled."

Radzilowski confirmed that he is aware of a similar complaint.

"The supervisor sat in and observed the interview and that person was very hostile and didn't want to give up the information," Radzilowski said.

"Then they want to come out and make false allegations. What you're going to see now is people like Mr. Frazier's attorney trying to kill the messenger. I haven't received any other complaints other than one certain person that has no credibility because she has filed false complaints before."

Mulock said he believes the case has been blown out of proportion.

"I think the police started the case investigation and they feel like they have to find something, so they keep looking," Mulock said.

Radzilowski said detectives are "gathering facts, statements and forensic evidence" and that once those are handed over to the state attorney's office, "the chips are going to fall where they may."

Mulock said he has gathered numerous witnesses and letters of reference from parents and others supporting Frazier.

"It's still a he-said, she-said," Mulock said.

Detectives have not formally requested an interview with Frazier, Mulock said. Radzilowski would not release the names of any individuals questioned.

"He feels that this is a vendetta of some type," Mulock said of his client. "He's very upset about it. I don't know that he'll be able to go back to school. They've ruined him. They've ruined his reputation and nothing has even happened yet."

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.

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