Police recommend charging Manatee football coach and 4 others

7:32 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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Rod Frazier is a parent liaison and running backs coach at football powerhouse Manatee High School.
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BRADENTON, Florida -- Bradenton Police are recommending that Manatee High School assistant football coach Rod Frazier be charged with battery for allegedly inappropriately touching a female student.

The 35-year-old Frazier, a parent liaison at Manatee High, reportedly also asked for a naked picture of the girl, and at one point told her he loved her.

But Frazier's attorney on Wednesday continued to insist his client has done nothing wrong.

"I think this thing against Rod is clearly a witch hunt," Eddie Mulock told 10 News.

When the girl's allegation first surfaced last fall, Frazier was placed on paid leave as the school investigated. But that investigation appears to have lasted just one day and reportedly didn't involve questioning a number of students that may have seen things. So Frazier returned to work after just 24 hours. The day he returned also happened to be the day of a big football playoff game for Manatee.

Then, after published reports of the girl's allegations in February, the Bradenton Police became involved, with the police chief telling 10 News he was "upset" and "mad" his agency was never notified about the girl's claims.

Now, following a month-long investigation of its own, Bradenton PD is recommending a charge, and not just against Frazier. The agency is also recommending to the State Attorney's Office that charges be filed against four other district employees, including the person in charge of investigating the initial complaint.

Sources have confirmed to 10 News that includes charges against former Manatee Principal Bob Gagnon and district investigator Debra Horne, as well as two others.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune said charges recommended to prosecutors include lying to police and failing to report allegations of child abuse. But the paper said the exact distribution of those charges is unclear.

On Wednesday, the Manatee School District superintendent released a statement noting the State Attorney's office will make the final determination if any charges are actually filed, adding, "We hope the community will join us is reserving final judgment until all the facts are revealed. If charges are eventually brought against any of our personnel, the district will take appropriate action."

Frazier is now back on paid leave.

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