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Former MSU-Mankato coach takes legal steps to clear his name

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The former football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato is taking steps to legally clear his name after unfounded criminal charges of child pornography were dropped.

The Mankato Free Press reports Todd Hoffner has filed legal documents to erase any record of the charges, and his attorney has begun requesting the criminal case be removed from the state's court records system.

Hoffner's story has drawn national attention; news of his efforts to address the court records was picked up by the Associated Press and carried in numerous publications, including USA Today.

Hoffner was charged in 2012 with creating child pornography for using his university-issued cell phone to make video recordings of his young children dancing naked. Charges were dismissed three months after they were filed. The judge in the case concluded the children were performing a harmless skit.

"I was wrongly accused," Hoffner said in the petition to expunge the records. The petition includes requests to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Mankato Department of Public Safety and the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department to have his arrest records destroyed. The BCA has responded with a letter saying its records had been destroyed. The local agencies did not respond, the petition said. Police and Sheriff's Department records that were never used during hearings or for filings in the case have been sealed by the judge.

After charges were dismissed, Hoffner was reassigned and then fired. A grievance Hoffner filed against the university went to arbitration and results are expected within the next few weeks.

Earlier this year Hoffner accepted the job as head football coach at Minot State University. Shortly after that, Hoffner told his hometown newspaper, the Pierce County Tribune in Esmond, North Dakota, about his frustration with the charges.

"It was hard to understand and believe, but I guess you gotta have faith in the justice system and wait for it to run its course, and hope that the people that are involved and putting you in that position ... have enough compassion to put you back in a position that they took you out of. And that never happened, so you have to go fend for yourself and make your own mark."

Last week, the Minot Daily News reported that Hoffner selected his former Mankato assistant coach Chris Brunkhorst to serve as the Minot State defensive line coach and strength and conditioning coach. Hoffner coached Brunkhorst during his senior season in 2008 at Mankato.

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