Judge delays ruling on Manatee High ex-coach Frazier's motion to dismiss charges

jdeleon@bradenton.comSeptember 12, 2013 

MANATEE -- A Manatee County judge Wedesday delayed ruling on a motion to dismiss the charges against Rod Frazier, a former Manatee High School assistant football coach and parent liaison.

Frazier is charged with 10 misdemeanors, including seven counts of battery and three counts of interfering with a student's school attendance. He was charged after an investigation found evidence of improper contact with students and other staff at Manatee High, investigators said.

Defense attorney Edwin Mulock said the charges should be dismissed because prosecutors have not been specific enough on when they believe the crimes occurred.

Mulock also requested more specific information about the charges against Frazier, including the allegation of facts, the names of reported victims and the time and place the crimes are believed to have occurred.

"From the case law you have given me it is not likely that I will granting that motion to dismiss," Henderson said. "The particulars, that is a little more impressive."

One of Mulock's argument was that the charges stated "on one or more occasions" when making allegations.

"How can it be on one or more occasions, if it is battery on one or more occasions, than that would be additional battery I guess, I don't know," Mulock said.

Mulock further argued that language in the counts of interference with school attendance, saying that it was Frazier's job to remove students from the classroom.

"We need to be able to establish if he had the legal right to go take her out of class," Mulock said.

Assistant State Attorney Ashley Dusnik argued the time frames were the best that could be detailed.

"It is the state's position that we have exhausted all means to narrow those time frames," Dusnik said. "We do not believe there is anything we can do to narrow down those time frames anymore."

Henderson told Mulock that he understood the difficulty in narrowing down specific dates, especially when dealing with high school students.

Dusnik said it was the state's position that dismissal was not appropriate and that it was too premature for a statement of particulars.

"If there was ever a case that needs a bill of particulars, it's this one," Mulock said.

Henderson ruled that he would be willing to readdress the motions further along in the case once both sides have gotten into discovery.

Charges were filed against Frazier on July 19 after months of investigation by the state attorney's office and police. The Bradenton Police Department began the probe in February after it received information that Frazier had inappropriately touched students and that the school and the school district failed to report the accusations to the state.

Frazier resigned om July 26, a week after being charged, after being on paid administrative leave since the police probe began in February.

Four school district officials have been also charged with failing to report the accusations of child abuse.

Former Manatee High principal Robert Gagnon and assistant principals Gregg Faller and Matthew Kane are each facing one felony count of failing to report child abuse, one misdemeanor count of failing to report child abuse and one misdemeanor count of giving a false report to police. Debra Horne, former school district investigator, is also charged with one felony count of failing to report child abuse.

Frazier and the four school district officials have all pled not guilty.

All four have administrators are on paid administrative leave. A fifth, staff attorney Scott Martin, has also been placed on administrative leave, but he has not been charged with a crime.

Mulock was in court Tuesday on Frazier's behalf for a pretrial conference and was granted extra time to prepare his defense because of the number of witnesses in the case. Another hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 5 to evaluate the progress of the case.

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

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