Ex-Manatee coach Frazier gets more time to prepare defense

jdeleon@bradenton.comSeptember 11, 2013 

MANATEE -- Roderick Frazier's attorney Tuesday asked a judge for more time to prepare a defense for the former Manatee High School assistant football coach charged with inappropriate behavior with students and staff.

He got it.

Frazier, also a former parent liaison at the school, was charged in July with a total of 10 misdemeanors, including seven counts of battery and three counts of interference with a stu

dent's school attendance. The charges involve four students and three teachers or staff members.

Frazier did not appear before Manatee County Judge K. Douglas Henderson, as attorney Edwin Mulock represented him.

"I have 56 witnesses. There is no way I am going to ready for trial anytime soon," Mulock said.

Mulock waived Frazier's right to a speedy trial, saying he had just received discovery material and had not even begun depositions. Another pre-trial conference was set Nov. 5 to check progress.

A mother of one of the students Frazier is charged with inappropriately touching was in the courtroom.

"It was still pretty uneventful," she said. "I am still waiting to see them all in jail."

The woman said she felt obligated to be in the courtroom.

"You do what you got to do to keep your child safe," she said. "If we let Frazier get away with this we are no better than Faller, Gagnon or Kane. We have to see this through."

The woman was referring to Frazier, as well as former Manatee High administrators Gregg Faller, Robert Gagnon and Matthew Kane, who have been charged with failing to report child abuse and making false statements to police investigating Frazier. A fourth official, Debra Horne, has been charged with failing to report child abuse.

All four are on paid administrative leave from the Manatee County School District.

Faller and Gagnon are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning. Judge Thomas Krug will hear their motions for bond reductions as well as Faller's motion requesting specifics about the allegations, including the victim's name, abuser's name and what knowledge he allegedly had of the crimes.

Frazier pleaded not guilty to all the charges in his written notice of appearance Aug. 6.

Mulock filed a motion to dismiss six of the 10 charges against Frazier, claiming filing charges dating to 2006 was excessive. He also requested more specific information, including names of victims and the time and place for when the alleged crimes occurred. A hearing on those motions is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Frazier is not expected to attend.

"Right now it is all very vague, very broad accusations until we can pin things down," Mulock said later. "The only way we can do that is confronting people with questions."

Mulock said he wants charges made correctly so he can assure Frazier's right to due process.

"It is going to boil down to he-said and she-said," Mulock said.

Frazier resigned from Manatee High after being charged. He has been on paid administrative leave since February when the Bradenton Police Department began investigating reports of inappropriate behavior. The case was later passed on to the State Attorney's Office, which filed formal charges after additional investigation.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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