STURGEON BAY, Wis.—Ex-Franklin College President Thomas Minar's legal battle continues as Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin pushes his defense team to lock into their already scheduled trial date in March.
Minar appeared at his pre-trial conference Friday at the Door County Justice Center with his husband, Frank Becker. This was the first time in months he attended in person; he has previously appeared via zoom due to the pandemic and his court dates being extended.
Minar’s defense showed up without filing any evidence or motion for testimony just a month before the trial date and after the deadline. Minar’s local attorney, Brett Reetz, said they are waiting on a psychiatric evaluation that should be prepared next week.
But Nordin said the state of Wisconsin has been waiting long enough.
“I am prepared to go to proceed to trial,” Nordin said. “This case has been pending for years.”
A second pre-trial conference date has been set for 1:30 p.m. March 23. At that time, all evidence and motions for testimony will be finalized for the jury trial, which will take place March 29 and 30. Due to a crowded court schedule and Minar’s defense team wanting a second pre-trial hearing, the five-day trial has been shortened to two days.
Nordin has said she will object to anything Minar’s defense tries to file after the second pre-trial conference.
Minar, 58, was arrested Jan. 6, 2020, by Sturgeon Bay police, who tracked him to a McDonald’s after conducting an undercover investigation on the dating app Grindr. Law enforcement alleges that chat records from Grindr show Minar planned to meet with a 15-year-old child.
The police department obtained a warrant to search Minar’s cell phone to see the Grindr chats and found child pornography.
Minar has been charged with 12 counts of possession of child pornography, using a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement, and exposing a child to harmful narrations.
Police dashcam footage shows police arresting Minar at night in a McDonald’s parking lot just outside of Sturgeon Bay’s downtown area. He was questioned by Officer Brandon Shew, who works for a unit called Internet Crimes Against Children, or ICAC. Police say Shew posed as a 15-year-old, "Tyler," whom Minar spoke to on Grindr. Minar said he intended to meet up with “Tyler” for “friendship” and “mentorship”
Minar was released from custody on a $7,500 bail bond posted by his husband. He is not allowed to use any social media or have unmonitored interactions with minors while awaiting the results of the case.
“We are prepared to proceed with our witnesses and move forward and expect the defense will be ready to do as well,” Nordin said.
Minar and his defense team declined to comment.