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Former Franklin College president claims sexually explicit chat with minor was "fantasy"

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Posted at 2:58 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 10:49:08-05

WISCONSIN — The former president of Franklin College in Johnson County is facing multiple charges after he was arrested trying to meet a teen following a sexually explicit chat on an online dating site.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Thomas Minar in Door County, Wisc., the 56-year-old man was using a cell phone app called "Grindr," which is a platform "commonly used by gay males to meet other males to meet up for sexual encounters," when he began contacting who he thought was a 15-year-old boy. The boy was actually an undercover police officer.

The court documents share snippits of chat conversations between Minar and the the undercover officer who was pretending to be a boy named "Tyler."

In those conversations, Minar, who told the boy he was 53, asks "Tyler" about things that are sexual in nature such as what he likes to do, what he's wearing and how many men he has been with.

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Officers arrested Minar after he made plans to meet up "Tyler" at a McDonald's.

During his interviews, Minar told the officer that he knew he was meeting up with a 15-year-old and that he kept talking to the child after learning his age because he was "curious and bored."

"Yes, I'm 56 years old. Yes, I'm attracted to young males," Minar told the officer according to those court documents.

Minar told the officer that any sexually explicit chat messages that he shared with "Tyler" were only "fantasy chat."

He also said that although he's attracted to young men, he has never been sexually interested in children, according to those court documents. Minar said that he was only looking to be a "friend" and "mentor" to "Tyler," because he thinks young gay people need "resources" and "non-sexual affirmations and mentorship and role models."

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Minar was arrested following his interview and has been formally charged with child enticement, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and exposing a child to harmful material in Door County, Wisconsin, on January 6.

Following his arrest, Minar was fired from his position as President of Franklin College on Saturday, January 11.

READ | Franklin College names longtime athletic directory as acting president

Minar had been president of Franklin College since 2015 and had previously announced plans to resign at the end of the current academic year.

Disclaimer: RTV6 has refrained from publishing the full charging documents due to the vulgar and graphic nature of the content.