Charges too light for Manatee coach? - WFLA News Channel 8

Charges too light for Manatee coach?

Posted: Updated:
Rod Frazier.  File photo. Rod Frazier. File photo.
BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) -

Four Manatee county school administrators are charged with felonies in connection to claims of inappropriate conduct by a former Manatee High School coach.

The State Attorney's office says the four administrators failed to report suspected child abuse, but why are their charges more severe than the misdemeanor charges that Coach Rod Frazier is facing?

Sometimes a charge of battery can seem pretty obvious. News Channel 8 has aired numerous stories of cell phone videos capturing fights.

Legally, however, the charge of battery has many layers.

"Battery is any non consensual touching of another person," says attorney Adam Tebrugge.  "Whether I make physical contact with you by striking you or hitting you. Even if I hug you and you didn't want me to do that, that would be a battery. Or if I spit at you or threw something that hit you, that could be a battery as well." 

Tebrugge said battery itself is a misdemeanor, but depending on intent and the severity of the case, it could bring on a harsher punishment.

"If you commit a battery upon a pregnant person that makes it an aggravated battery," Tebrugge said.  "If you use a weapon like a gun or a knife, that makes it an aggravated battery. If you touch someone in a sexual manner, that could be a lewd and lascivious battery, which is a very serious felony charge."

Former Manatee High parent liaison and assistant football coach Rod Frazier faces seven misdemeanor counts of battery. That was a decision made by the State Attorney's office.

Tebrugge said, "They do the legal research, they interview the witnesses, and they file the charge that they think can be sustained in court."

Four administrators, Bob Gagnon, Greg Faller, Matt Kane, and Debra Horne, each face felonies for failure to report child abuse.

"Florida has always had a very strict mandatory reporting law," Tebrugge said.

Failure to report child abuse is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

"In practical terms, this is a statute that is very difficult to prosecute," said Tebrugge, "and I've never before seen a prosecution on these charges in almost 30 years of practicing." 

The same cannot be said for the charges Frazier faces.

"[Battery is] a serious misdemeanor offense.  It can carry up to a year in the county jail. And it's not unusual for someone to get that sentence if they're convicted of battery," said Tebrugge.

Tebrugge said it's not unusual for someone to be convicted of misdemeanor battery. And that's a year for each count.

An official there said if the girls were under the age of 16, then Frazier would have been slammed with felony charges.

It's also important to note that hypothetically, Tebrugge says Rod Frazier could be acquitted of his charges, and yet the four administrators could still be sentenced.

The two legal issues are not dependent on each other.

"Ultimately, in the legal system most things work out the way that they're supposed to," he said.

Don't miss out on the day's top Facebook conversations http://bl.wfla.com/17r4jKK

RELATED STORIES:

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:35 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Land O' Lakes man: troopers saved my life

    Land O' Lakes man: troopers saved my life

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:51 GMT
    A Pasco County man credits two Florida Highway Patrol troopers with saving his life. A Pasco County man credits two Florida Highway Patrol troopers with saving his life.
    Chris Henry calls two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers heroes. He believes they saved his life.
    Chris Henry calls two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers heroes. He believes they saved his life.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:35 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • Gov. Scott begins campaign bus tour in Tampa Bay area

    Gov. Scott begins campaign bus tour in Tampa Bay area

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:55:10 GMT
    Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, focusing on tax cuts and bashing his the record of his opponent - and predecessor."We've been cleaning up Charlie Crist's mess for three years," Scott said.Calling Crist a "slick politician and a smooth talker,"
    Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, focusing on tax cuts and bashing his the record of his opponent - and predecessor."We've been cleaning up Charlie Crist's mess for three years," Scott said.Calling Crist a "slick politician and a smooth talker,"
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 18 - 23

    Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 18 - 23

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:58:28 GMT
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants?
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants?
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium plans to drop animal shows

    Clearwater Marine Aquarium plans to drop animal shows

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:09 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:09:15 GMT
    Aug. 3, 2011 file photo, Clearwater Marine Aquarium senior marine mammal trainer Abby Stone works with Winter the dolphin in Clearwater, Image APAug. 3, 2011 file photo, Clearwater Marine Aquarium senior marine mammal trainer Abby Stone works with Winter the dolphin in Clearwater, Image AP
    No animal performances will be held at a redesigned aquatic center planned by the Florida aquarium featured in the "Dolphin Tale" movies.
    No animal performances will be held at a redesigned aquatic center planned by the Florida aquarium featured in the "Dolphin Tale" movies.
  • Bubba 'The Love Sponge' to announce new Tampa gig

    Bubba 'The Love Sponge' to announce new Tampa gig

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:07 GMT
    File photo of Bubba the Love Sponge ClemFile photo of Bubba the Love Sponge Clem
    Bubba "The Love Sponge" announced on his Twitter page Monday that he will soon have a new Tampa home.
    Bubba "The Love Sponge" announced on his Twitter page Monday that he will soon have a new Tampa home.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.