Minar appears in Wisconsin court on child sex crime-related charges

Thomas Minar. Submitted photo courtesy of the Door County Jail in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.


FRANKLIN — Franklin College’s former president appeared before a Wisconsin judge Wednesday for the first time since February.

Thomas J. Minar was scheduled to be arraigned on child sex crime-related charges, but the arraignment was postponed due to additional charges that were filed after Minar’s initial status hearing Feb. 20, when he waived his preliminary hearing, a rare move, but common in high-profile cases or when the evidence against a defendant is substantial or overwhelming.

Wednesday’s hearing, which was held via Zoom web conferencing, lasted less than 10 minutes.

Minar faces 15 total charges, including 12 possession of child pornography charges that were added in March after a search of his phone produced new evidence. Minar, 56, was arrested Jan. 6 in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin after he allegedly messaged an undercover police officer posing as a 15-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr.

Door County Circuit Court Judge David Weber said Wednesday via web conference he found probable cause on the initial three charges against Minar. Those charges include using a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement and exposing a child to harmful narrations, all felonies that carry a maximum sentence of 68 ½ years in prison if convicted on all counts and ordered to serve separate sentences for each, as well as up to $210,000 in fines.

But Minar had not yet waived a preliminary hearing for the 12 additional charges, and his attorney, Brett Reetz, asked Weber to set another status hearing to do so.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.