Did Manatee school staff hide sex scandal to save football program?

8:01 PM, Oct 14, 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 - For the first time in the Rod Frazier investigation, Manatee Superintendent Rick Mills is admitting that his staffers may have put the nationally ranked football program ahead of student safety.

The superintendent calls it "a factor."

Mills went on to say, "It's unfortunate it happened. I am disappointed. We are taking appropriate action."

Big questions still loom. What did school administrators know about the sexual allegations involving Manatee High assistant football coach Rod Frazier? And why did those administrators allegedly do nothing about the complaints?

Did the well-known football program take precedence over students? Were staffers willing to do anything, even foster a cover up, to save the program? Staff insiders call the case "a big mess."

Coach Frazier resigned after accusations came out from female students. One girl said Frazier "grabbed her butt" and that he had a "groping problem," while another student said the coach "rubbed his hands on her lower back and buttocks."

So, why didn't staff members, including the principal and a school attorney, say anything? people are asking.  Now, employees could lose their jobs for not speaking out about the allegations.

"This was a failure, a failure at all levels, failure to protect our children," said school board member Julie Aranibar.

Mills made recommendations to have five staff members fired. The Manatee School Board will now make the decision tonight at a meeting where they will cast their votes.

Just this afternoon, hours before the meeting even began, staff attorney Scott Martin and former district investigator Debra Horne resigned. Their resignations will be effective November 2. A source close to the case said, "They wanted their benefits, so they resigned instead of being fired."

So that leaves three others administrators on the chopping block: assistant superintendent Bob Gagnon, and former Manatee High assistant principals Matthew Kane and Gregg Faller.

The case is far from over after tonight. There is also the criminal investigation. Gagnon, Faller, Horne, and Kane are also facing felony charges of failure to report child abuse by the state.

Gagnon, Faller, and Kane have also been charged with lying to police. However, criminal charges have not been filed against Martin.

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