Attorney Jeremy Lessem, a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, responded to false child pornography accusations made against a former Minnesota State football coach.
"This is yet another unfortunate example of law enforcement and others jumping to conclusions before looking at all the evidence," he said, "This is something that we see far too often, and is something we are experienced in fighting against."
The coach was fired last May after a judge cleared the child porn charges held against him. According to news sources, the accusation involved alleged images of his children on a university-issued cellphone. After his arrest in 2012, the judge dismissed the charges, saying that the images were completely innocent.
In the face of serious criminal charges, the coach called the allegations the "most ridiculous things I've ever heard in my life."
Unfortunately, these cases are difficult to defend and often lead to serious consequences, even after a case dismissal. In this case, the coach ended up losing his job and facing unfair treatment from University officials.
"Especially in cases involving allegations of sexual abuse," Attorney Lessem explained, "despite what the law says, individuals are often presumed guilty."
Even after the judge dismissed the charges, the University President wrote a letter to have the coach fired. In it, he accused the coach of viewing pornography on a work computer and allowing his wife to use the computer, even though she was not an employee of the university.
There was no evidence to support the pornography accusation, since many people in the office had access to the computer. Evidence suggested that the wife may have used it, but the coach argued that the infraction was not offensive enough to fire him.
The ex-coach announced yesterday that he will return to his former job, where he and his lawyer will keep an eye out for signs of retaliation from university authorities.
"I can handle it," he said, but the coach's civil attorney is not satisfied with the reinstatement.
"What has been done to this family," the lawyer said, "is wrong."
In response to the coach's wrongful termination, the school was ordered to repay his salary with interest from the day his was fired. The coach took a new job at Minot State earlier this year, which he is now leaving to return to his old position at Minnesota State, Mankato.
The Minot State athletic director said that it will seek a replacement soon, and wishes the best for the coach and his family. "We are disappointed that doesn't involve Minot State," he said.