News Section: Schools and Education
Manatee High Sex Abuse Scandal Update
Horne Gets Pre-trial Diversion; Gagnon Files Motion to Dismiss
BRADENTON – Former Manatee County School District investigator Debra Horne was offered a pre-trial diversion program by the state, who will drop a felony count of failure to report suspected child abuse once completed. Horne is currently facing the charge for her role in the Rod Frazier/Manatee High sex abuse scandal. Meanwhile, former interim superintendent Bob Gagnon's attorney filed motions this week to dismiss felony charges that his client faces as a result of the same investigation.
Horne, who was scheduled to stand trial June 16, must complete 75 hours of community service and pay $300 in fees as part of a program for first offenders facing specific third-degree felonies or misdemeanors.
Gagnon's attorney, Richard Reinhart, filed three motions this week to dismiss two counts of failure to report, along with one count of providing false information to police. A hearing for those motions has been set for April 10.
Like Gagnon, former Manatee High assistant principals Matthew Kane and Gregg Faller also face failure to report charges, along with providing false information to police. All three are scheduled for June 16 trials.
Frazier, a former assistant football coach and "parent liaison" at Manatee High, where Gagnon has also been a principal, faces a total of 10 charges – seven misdemeanor counts of battery against former female students and employees, and three counts of interfering with a student's attendance.
In November, Frazier's attorney, Eddie Mulock, successfully argued to have the charges broken up into eight separate trials. Frazier has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Trial dates have yet to be set.
The charges stem from a police investigation that followed media reports that a female student's accusations that Frazier had routinely groped her, while asking her to send him nude images and meeting her outside of school, were never passed on to state investigators, in accordance with state law.
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