4 Manatee schools officials charged with felonies in Frazier case

jdeleon@bradenton.comAugust 15, 2013 

MANATEE -- Four administrators with the Manatee County School District have been charged with felony counts of not reporting child abuse, in the Rod Frazier case, according to the state attorney's office.

Frazier, a former assistant football coach and parent liaison at Manatee High School, last month was charged with seven misdemeanor counts of battery and three counts of school interference, linked to alleged wrongdoing with students and staff and keeping students out of class.

On Thursday, four administrators with the district were charged in connection with the investigation of Frazier, according to Assistant State Attorney Dawn Buff.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Gagnon, who was principal at Manatee High part of the time Frazier worked there, was charged with one felony count of failure to report child abuse; one misdemeanor count of failure to report child abuse; and one misdemeanor count of giving false information to law enforcement.

Gregg Fowler and Matt Kane, both former assistant principals at Manatee High, face identical charges. They are now administrators at other high schools in the districts.

Additionally, Debra Horne, the district's former investigator and now an assistant principal at Prine Elementary, is charged with one felony county of failure to report child abuse, according to the state attorney's office.

Previously, the school district had suspended all four officials, as well as school district attorney Scott Martin, as it conducted its own investigation of the Frazier matter.

No charges were filed Thursday against Martin.

Of those charged, only Kane and Fowler could be reached. Both refused to comment.

School district spokesman Mike Barber said Superintendent Rick Mills was "deliberating" on what had happened, and that he wouldn't comment until a news conference tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday.

The charges were filed more than four months after the Bradenton Police Department completed its investigation and recommended that criminal charges be filed.

"This has been out there long enough and it is destroying the community," Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said.

"Manatee High School is not a good school, it’s a great school. We need to move on with this," he said.

"We need the football team to go back to being the football team and successful, we need the kids to get back to school and be successful. We need to put everything behind us. The community needs to heal this wound and move on," Radzilowski said.

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