Thomas Minar, the president of Indiana’s Franklin College, has been fired after he was arrested over the weekend for sex crimes.
Minar was arrested in Wisconsin, the college said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, “for use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement, and expose a child to harmful materials/narrations.” The school said it was alerted to Minar’s arrest through an email from the Sturgeon Bay Police Department in Wisconsin, who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Minar “was released from custody on bond, subject to no direct contact with minors unless supervised and not to use social media,” the college’s statement said.
The school, which lies about 25 miles south of Indianapolis, is launching an investigation into Minar’s “conduct” as president of the liberal arts college and said its board of trustees has been left “stunned” at the news.
“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 statement said.
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The college said Minar’s arrest was “the first such incident the board has been made aware of regarding Dr. Minar.”
Minar was already set to step down at the end of the 2019 to 2020 academic year, it was announced in June 2019. Dean and Provost Lori Schroeder will act as interim president while the board works on appointing an acting president, which it said should happen early this week.
Chair of Franklin’s board of trustees Jim Due said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that the community is “deeply shocked” and “gravely concerned” by Minar’s arrest.
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“The safety of our campus community — especially our students — is always our first priority,” he said. “We are deeply shocked and gravely concerned by the reported behavior of Dr. Minar that led to his arrest in Wisconsin, and we will continue to cooperate fully with authorities. As in other times of difficulty during the college’s 186-year history, our community will come together in support of one another as we continue to educate the innovative leaders of our future.”
Minar could not be immediately reached by PEOPLE, but said in a statement to the Indianapolis Business Journal that he “very much regret the circumstances which led the college to terminate our relationship.”
“My years at Franklin have been very rewarding and I am extraordinarily grateful to so many staff and faculty who have worked hard with me to advance the college in these challenging times for higher education,” he continued, making no reference to his arrest. “I wish nothing but the best for Franklin College and for the people who make it the wonderful institution it has become.”