MANATEE COUNTY-- School Board members in Manatee County voted unanimously Monday night to suspend without pay, Bob Gagnon, Gregg Faller and Matthew Kane, for their alleged roles in the Rod Frazier case.
Frazier, a former assistant football coach at Manatee High, is charged with seven counts of 1st degree misdemeanor battery on a female student. District officials say Gagnon, Faller and Kane knew about the incidents while working at the school, but failed to report them. All three men are charged criminally with failure to report child abuse.
Debra Horne, the former investigator in the Office of Professional Standards was also supposed to face a vote tonight for suspension without pay, but earlier in the day, she resigned, along with former Manatee Assistant Superintendent Scott Martin.
Gagnon, Faller and Kane all attended the meeting, but had their lawyers speak for them. The lawyers believe the school system is initiating a witch hunt against their clients.
"Please tell me how there is any evidence that supports the idea that Bob Gagnon had a duty to report alleged abuse of a child by another person and didn't act on that," said Gagnon's attorney, Richard Reinhart.
"If someone brought him (Kane) a possible legitimate reason to believe or suspect there was child abuse going on, he would have reported it," said Kane's attorney, Brett McIntosh.
The three men now have three weeks to appeal the decision. It will then be left up to the same school board to decide whether the men should be fired. Superintendent Rick Mills has already made the recommendation that they should be terminated.