New details emerge during Robert Gagnon hearing

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:54 pm

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- It was another heated day in a Manatee County courtroom, as Administrative Law Judge Lynne Quimby-Pennock heard arguments for and against Robert Gagnon being reinstated to his position as an assistant superintendent with the Manatee County School District.

Gagnon was removed from his post after an internal investigation found that his lack of action in the Rod Frazier investigation was not in the best interest of students. Frazier is accused of inappropriately touching female students and staff, and Gagnon was among the four administrators accused of helping to push the allegation under the rug by failing to report child abuse.

It’s a charge Gagnon’s attorney Richard Reinhart directly refuted today, saying "… quite frankly, the transcript doesn't support that he failed to report anything, and neither does any of the evidence presented by the petitioner in this case.”

Taking the stand Tuesday was former school district investigator Debra Horn, the original investigator of the Frazier case. Scott Martin, a former attorney for the district, also testified, and said he was the person who made the decision to put Frazier back to work and close the investigation after one day of questioning. Martin also refuted the idea that Gagnon plotted to hide or not investigate any claims of child abuse.

But that’s not how Bradenton Police Detective Marines remembers it. Manatee Schools representative Terry Harmon asked Martinez – who became involved after his department opened a criminal investigation -- if Gagnon made “any comments about getting Mr. Frazier back to work” or similar statements. Martinez said yes, and that Gagnon told him that “Mr. Frazier was needed for a football game and his presence would be missed if Mr. Frazier wasn't on the sidelines."

The hearing continues Wednesday.

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