Archive for Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ex-coach facing federal charges

January 11, 2006

Former University of St. Mary football coach Scott Frear is scheduled to make his first court appearance this week on federal child-pornography charges.

Frear, 42, Leavenworth, is scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., before federal Magistrate Judge James P. O'Hara.

Frear, who resigned in August just before football practices were to begin for the Spires, is charged with one count of sexually exploiting minors by possessing a visual depiction of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct; and two counts of sexually exploiting minors by sending via computer visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. A federal grand jury handed up the indictments last week.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred during July and August 2005 in Leavenworth County.

In a statement issued last week, the university said it was made aware on Aug.16, 2005, that federal authorities were investigating Frear. That morning, the university said, Frear submitted his resignation and has not been on campus since collecting his personal possessions. There was no explanation given at the time for Frear's resignation.

The university said there was no evidence the alleged activities occurred on campus or that university equipment was used.

"We received confirmation from authorities that none of the suspected activity ever took place on our campus. We have fully cooperated in the investigation," said Sister Diane Steele, president of the university.

Frear could not be reached for comment.

Typically at initial appearances in federal court, charges are read, a not guilty plea is entered for defendants and the defendant's next court date is set.

If convicted, Frear faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the possession charge; and not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each of the charges of sending child pornography via computer, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Frear was hired at St. Mary in December 2001, and after his first season at the school he was named Coach of the Year by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. St. Mary was his first head-coaching job in the college ranks.

Lance Hinson, defensive coordinator at the time of Frear's resignation, was named the Spires' head coach. His team was 5-5 this year.

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