Former president Thomas Minar makes first appearance in court
Minar appeared in court in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to go over charges filed
By Emily Ketterer and Victoria Ratliff
STURGEON BAY, Wisconsin –– Franklin College’s former president Thomas Minar made his initial appearance Monday in front of a Door County circuit court in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Minar was arrested Jan. 6 on counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement and exposing a child to harmful narrations, after he allegedly messaged an undercover police officer posing as a 15-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr.
Accompanied by his husband Dr. Frank Becker, Minar sat quietly in the courtroom while waiting for his hearing. Also with Minar was his attorney Brett Reetz
During his hearing, Minar spoke with low volume, only answering Judge David Weber’s questions with a nod, or a quiet yes or no.
Weber presented the charges Minar faces and asked if he understood each one.
Minar did not waive his right to a preliminary hearing but did waive the 20-day time limit to have a preliminary hearing.
Minar and his attorney declined to comment after the hearing.
The criminal complaint filed by the Door County district attorney details Minar’s alleged messages to the undercover officer, Brandon Shew. Along with the sexually explicit messages, the complaint said Minar also sent pornographic pictures of himself to the boy.
Sturgeon Bay has a population just under 9,000 and is a summer destination. In messages included in the criminal complaint, Minar said he has a vacation house in the city.
After his arrest at a local McDonald’s, Minar agreed to an interview with officer Shew and said, “Yes, I’m 56 years old. Yes, I’m attracted to young males.”
Minar was released from jail the next day on a $7,500 bond posted by his husband.
It was announced that Minar was fired from his position with the college Jan. 13, after the board of trustees sent out an email to faculty and students.
The board of trustees said in a statement, “We are deeply shocked and gravely concerned by the reported behavior of Dr. Minar that led to his arrest in Wisconsin, and we will continue to cooperate fully with authorities.”
On Jan. 14, the college’s board of trustees announced that its long-time athletic director, Kerry Prather, would take over as acting president.
In an email to students, Prather said, “As I transition into this new role, I ask for your prayers and support as we all refocus on the unlimited potential of Franklin College.”
Minar has a status conference scheduled for Feb. 20.
This is a developing story and will be updated.