Assistant Manatee High football coach Frazier charged with 7 battery counts, 3 others

Herald Staff WritersJuly 20, 2013 

MANATEE -- The State Attorney's Office filed criminal charges Friday -- including seven counts of battery -- in the investigation of Manatee High School football coach Rod Frazier.

Frazier is charged with seven counts of battery, a first-degree misdemeanor, and three counts of interference with the attendance of a student in a school or classroom, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Frazier's court date is set for Aug. 8 and his attorney Edwin Mulock said Frazier will plead not guilty.

"The whole thing is still bogus," Mulock said. "But the truth is that after all the hoopla, we come out with a misdemeanor. There are people in the community that think he had sex with girls and raped girls, but it is just a misdemeanor.

"There are real issues with this case, and it is incredible to me that I have to deal with it."

Mulock added that he thinks the charges of interference with a student's school attendance are "laughable."

"What does that even mean?" Mulock said. "Our problem is that we do not have enough facts."

Superintendent of Manatee County Schools Rick Mills said he has already called school district staff attorney Scott Martin to discuss moving forward now that charges have been filed against Frazier. Mills plans to meet with Martin Monday morning.

"Obviously charges have been filed, and due process takes place around that," Mills said. "We will make a determination Monday from the employee discipline perspective and review the charges to move forward on our own."

Mills added that he and Martin will look into whether

the misdemeanor charges are enough to fire Frazier.

"I have been very respectful of the integrity of the investigation," Mills said. "The investigation was thorough, and at this point we will look into how we will continue."

Martin declined to comment.

Mills said the state attorney did not share the names of anyone else who might be implicated in the case.

"For any others that may be implicated, I expect it to come to closure in the next week or two based on what was shared with me," Mills said.

In January, a female student wrote a three-page letter detailing her contact with Frazier. She dropped the letter, addressed to whom it may concern, at Manatee High School.

The student's mother expressed relief Friday that charges have been filed against Frazier.

"I am still in shock, but I'm also waiting for the other shoe to drop," she said. "But Frazier being arrested is part of the hopeful outcome."

The girl's mother has told the Bradenton Herald she was never told by anyone at the school of the inappropriate behavior. And she wants charges leveled against anyone who failed to report Frazier's behavior.

"I'm still waiting on the failure to report, all those that allowed him to behave the way that he did," she said.

The State Attorney's Office has been investigating whether officials with both Manatee High and the school district who may have known about the accusations failed to immediately contact police. A decision on whether to file any other charges is pending, assistant state attorney Dawn Buff wrote in a text message Friday.

The Bradenton Police Department began its investigation in February into whether Frazier had an inappropriate relationship with at least one female student. He was accused of groping the student and sending her text messages asking for nude photographs and arranging to meet the student after school.

Frazier was put on paid administrative leave in February. After Bradenton detectives completed their investigation, which included interviews with more than 50 people concerning the accusations against Frazier, they handed the case to the State Attorney's Office in April.

"Our official comment right now is to say we have no comment," Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said Friday.

The girl's parents say they have waited and hoped for months while the State Attorney's Office conducted its investigation.

"It's been a long seven months and I am just trying to process," she said. "It's still not real yet."

Steve Gulash, an assistant coach who shared an office with Frazier, said Friday that he hopes Frazier will seek help now that the investigation has come to a close.

"It's tragic. There's nothing to celebrate about," Gulash said. "It's a sad situation, and hopefully, he'll get some help. It's good because it's coming to an end."

Gulash said there was a breach in the duty to keep students safe.

"Rod, I've seen the guy do some decent things. But this is something I believed strongly in, and I guess I was right with what I saw," Gulash said. "I'm not crazy like some people said I was… People send their kids to school, and they expect us to take care of them. You have to take care of the kids."

-- Reporter John Lembo contributed to this report.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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