No trial date in sight for case against former Manatee High assistant coach Roderick Frazier

jdeleon@bradenton.comJanuary 1, 2014 

Manatee assistant coach Rod Frazier celebrates a touchdown with Kelvin McKnight as they play St. Petersburg Northeast in 2012. FILE PHOTO/TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

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MANATEE -- No trial date is in sight in the cases against former Manatee High assistant football coach Roderick Frazier as the defense continues to prepare.

Frazier, 35, is charged with sevens misdemeanor counts of battery for inappropriately touching students, teachers or staff and three misdemeanor counts of interfering with school attendance. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

At a recent hearing with County Judge Douglas Henderson, a pretrial conference scheduled Thursday was moved to Feb. 25.

"I anticipate some motions to be filed in the weeks to come and we will be scheduling those on some evidentiary matters," said Assistant State Attorney Heather Doyle, who is prosecuting the case.

Henderson ruled last week on defense motions heard at the most recent pretrial conference Dec. 13. Defense attorney Edwin Mulock had filed a motion alleging pornographic images found on Frazier's school-issued computers were obtained without a search warrant.

"The court finds that the defendant does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his work-issued computers because there were explicit policies, acknowledged and twice signed by the defendant, that the Manatee School District owns and has the right to govern and inspect the use of the computers at any time," Henderson wrote. "It is clear that these computers were not to be construed as belonging to the defendant."

Mulock said the ruling was a close call.

"It lays the grounds for an appeal if necessary," Mulock said. "A lot of what we do is lay the groundwork in the event there is a bad outcome."

Prosecutors have indicated the images are not relevant to their case and they do not intend to use them, Mulock said.

Henderson has reserved ruling on whether the images will be admissible at trial, according to the court docket.

"What the judge has said is that the images were lawfully obtained," Doyle said. "But whether they can be used in

trial is a separate matter."

The prosecutor says the case continues to move forward as the defense continues to take depositions.

Henderson also denied defense motions for notice by the government of the intention to use evidence arguably subject to suppression and for disclosure of impeaching information.

Earlier this month, Henderson granted the defense eight separate trials, ruling prosecutors had improperly linked the battery charges. Additionally, he ruled battery and interference counts involving the same victim should be linked.

Frazier resigned from his position at Manatee High School last summer after charges were filed against him.

Four school district officials, including former Manatee High Principal Robert Gagnon, former assistant principals Matthew Kane and Gregg Faller and former district investigator Debra Horne, still face felony charges they did not report suspicions of child abuse to the state abuse hot line. Horne's case will tried separately from the other three.

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

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