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Former Franklin College president appears before Wisconsin judge

Thomas Minar charged with child sex crimes
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 16:18:48-05

STURGEON BAY, WISCONSIN — Former Franklin College President Thomas Minar made his initial appearance before a Wisconsin judge Monday, three weeks after he was arrested on child sex charges.

Minar, who is 56, faces three charges in Door County, Wisconsin Circuit Court.

  • Child Enticement - Sexual Contact
  • Use a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime
  • Expose Child to Harmful Materials

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Minar was arrested while trying to meet a teenager after a sexually explicit chat on an online dating site. He was visiting Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin at the time.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, Minar 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 a person he thought was a 15-year-old boy. That person was actually an undercover police officer.

Minar was arrested at a local McDonald's after making plans to meet the person he had contacted. He told police that he was attracted to young males, but that any sexually explicit chat messages he sent were only "fantasy chat."

Shortly after his arrest, Minar was fired by Franklin College, where he had been president for five years. He was planning on leaving the Johnson County school at the end of this academic year. Kerry Prather, Franklin's athletic director and head men's basketball coach, is acting president.

Minar appeared in the Wisconsin court with his attorney Monday. No trial date was set, but another hearing was scheduled for February 20. He remains free on bond and is prohibited from any unsupervised direct contact with minors.