WEDNESDAY 1/15/20 1:49 p.m.
STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — A college president from Indiana has been charged in Door County Court after he began chatting with who he believed to be a 15-year-old on Grindr.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by Local 5, 56-year-old Thomas Minar, who was president of Franklin College, now faces charges of Child Enticement, Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime, and Exposing a Child to Harmful Material.
An officer with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department reportedly began an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation by setting up an undercover profile on the mobile app Grindr under the name “Tyler.” The undercover profile listed the age of the undercover cop as 19-years-old.
On January 6, a Grindr user – later identified as Minar – began chatting with “Tyler.”
When “Tyler” messaged Minar saying “‘I’m too young,'” Minar said “‘You’re not too young for me :).'”
The criminal complaint outlines that “Tyler” told Minar he was 15-years-old and from Sturgeon Bay and Minar responded that he has “a vacation house” in Sturgeon Bay.
According to the document, Minar sent “Tyler” photos of his “briefs.”
While chatting, “Tyler” told Minar that he could text him, but Minar told him “I’d love to but it would be bad if anyone found texts from me on your phone…Sadly.”
Later on, officials report that Minar asked “Tyler” if he would like to meet sometime.
Minar then asked “Tyler” to “start sending pics.”
The document goes on to show that Minar and “Tyler” agreed to meet at a McDonald’s in Sturgeon Bay. Once the meeting arrangements were made, “a team of officers was assembled to conduct surveillance to see if the suspect would show up at the meet location.”
Officers confirmed Minar was at the McDonald’s, “ordered that he exit the vehicle, and then placed him under arrest.” Minar told authorities “that he was meeting with a young man.”
He also “admitted that ‘Tyler’s’ profile indicated he was 19 years old, but that ‘Tyler’ said he was 15 years old. Minar said that he met with ‘Tyler’ to be a ‘friend’ and to be his ‘mentor.'”
The criminal complaint states that Minar told officers “that he was not looking for ‘sexual things'” and “denied that anything sexual would have occurred” if “Tyler” showed up.
Minar reportedly “stated that he thinks young gay people need ‘resources’ and ‘non-sexual affirmations and mentorship and role models’ and this was probably a ‘misguided way to provide an opportunity.'”
Officers report that Minar stated “he would have drawn a line between a sexually explicit chat and having a sexual contact with a 15 year old boy.”
According to the document, Minar “said that the situation was a mistake on his part, that going to Sturgeon Bay was a mistake, and that he agreed he should not have had this type of conversation with a child.”
Court documents show Minar is scheduled to appear in court on January 27.
Sturgeon Bay Police arrest Indiana college president for child enticement, other charges
MONDAY 1/13/20 1:31 p.m.
FRANKLIN, Ind. (WFRV) — A college president in Indiana has been arrested by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department for multiple charges including child enticement and exposing a child to harmful materials/narrations.
According to Franklin College, officials were “notified of the arrest from an email from the Sturgeon Bay Police Department.”
That email reportedly stated that President Thomas J. Minar, Ph.D., was taken into custody in Sturgeon Bay for Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Sex Crime, Child Enticement, and Expose a Child to Harmful Materials/Narrations. He was reportedly released from custody on bond and is to have no contact with minors unless supervised and not to use social media.
According to a statement from the college, the Board of Trustees Executive Committee “felt it was essential to act immediately and sever his relationship with the College.”
“The safety of Franklin students is always our highest priority. To that end, the College has launched an investigation concerning Dr. Minar’s conduct while President. While there are systems already in place, additional resources will be engaged to continue to provide our students a safe, confidential means to report incidents of inappropriate behavior.”
The Board says this is the first such incident the Board has been made aware of regarding Dr. Minar “and the Board is fully committed to cooperating fully with Wisconsin authorities and working to ensure the safety of our campus community.”
Franklin College says Minar announced in June of last year that he would be stepping down as president of the college on June 30, 2020.
The investigation remains ongoing and Local 5 will provide updates as they become available.