Some charges dropped against 3 ex-Manatee High officials in Frazier case

Three ex-Manatee High officials each face one fewer misdemeanor

jdeleon@bradenton.comApril 9, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Prosecutors have dropped one of the charges against each of the three former administrators implicated in the case against a Manatee High School assistant football coach.

On Monday, they filed amended charges against Robert Gagnon, Matthew Kane and Gregg Faller, dropping misdemeanor charges of falsifying information to law enforcement, according to court records.

Gagnon, Kane and Faller each are still facing one misdemeanor count of failing to report child abuse and one felony count of failing to report child abuse.

"I did some more research and I found that the law applies to a situation where someone falsified information rather than just lying to the police during the course of their investigation," Assistant State Attorney Dawn Buff said. "Nothing has changed as far as the allegations of failing to report."

Roderick Frazier, a former Manatee High assistant coach, is facing seven misdemeanor counts of battery. Prosecutors say he inappropriately touched students, faculty and staff.

He also faces three misdemeanor counts of interfering with school attendance.

Investigators say Gagnon, Kane and Faller were aware of the allegations against Frazier and failed to report to law enforcement and call the state child abuse hotline.

Their trial is set for June 16.

Gagnon is a former principal at Manatee High School, and Kane and Faller are former assistant principals at the school.

"It's the first step in the right direction," said Brett

McIntosh, attorney for Kane. "I will be more satisfied if the two other charges are dropped."

If not, McIntosh is optimistic they will be ready for trial.

"We have been taking depositions," McIntosh said. "We feel we are heading in the right direction for June."

Robert Gagnon's attorney, Richard Reinhart, said prosecutors should drop all the charges against his client.

"I am pleased that the state saw the light and dismissed the one charge, but I am a little disappointed they haven't seen the light to dismiss the other two; although I am confident they will or the court will dismiss those charges or he will be acquitted at trial," Reinhart said.

Reinhart is working to prepare for Gagnon's trial, as well as for a hearing at which Gagnon will try to keep his job with the district.

"After doing all the discovery, we are also confident that he will win his administrative law hearing," Reinhart said. "We are looking forward to the day he gets his good name restored."

Gregg Faller's attorney, Jon Weiffenbach, was also happy with the news of the dropped charge.

"That was the right thing to do after conducting depositions," Weiffenbach said. "Everybody learns a lot during the course of depositions."

The case continues to move along in the discovery process, he said.

A fourth administrator, Debra Horne, a former school district investigator, was charged with one count of failing to report child abuse but entered into a pre-trial intervention program, which, if she successfully completes, will drop the charges against her.

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

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