BRADENTON, Fla. - The Manatee County School District announced Monday it will reopen an investigation into allegations that an assistant football coach groped a female student.
"The number one priority of the Manatee County School District is the safety and security of our students and staff and faculty," explained Superintendent Rick Mills. "We can never be too vigilant in the protection of our students and our employees."
According to Mills, the district suspended its original investigation of Rod Frazier when the Bradenton Police Department began its investigation earlier this year.
Friday, the State Attorney's office filed 10 charges against Frazier, seven of them for battery after accusations that he groped a female student and sent her a text message asking for nude pictures.
Frazier is the assistant football coach at Manatee High School. He is also a parent liaison.
"We're dealing with, partially, rumors. We're dealing with hysterical young girls sometimes," said Frazier's attorney, Ed Mulock. "You know, texting all the time, and they want to think 'somebody did this' or 'coach loves me' or 'coach touched me' and it gets out of control."
Mulock plans to file a not guilty plea. He believes his client's reputation has been unfairly tarnished for misdemeanor charges.
"No matter what the results are, he's just been waiting around and waiting around and so forth. Now we can get down to finding out what it's about, trying to seek the truth of the whole thing," he said. "It's not unusual to see a teacher give a child a hug or a coach give a guy or pat a player on the behind. I don't know. I guess all that stuff's going to be out from now on."
Frazier is on paid administrative leave. The district's investigation will determine whether he loses his job, though he may request a hearing.
Mills told reporters Monday that he will also require all staff to complete training for how to detect and report suspected child abuse. Previously, only teaching staff had such requirements.
"All of our employees should be aware of what the requirements are in identifying it and evaluating it in terms of does it meet the criteria for suspected reporting of child abuse," Mills said.
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