Restoring online reputation difficult after false accusations

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An internet search for "Principal Michael Hoskinson" will reveal stories of arrests, alleged child abuse, firings and more. 

Principal Hoskinson and his wife, Kim's names fill pages of web searches with mug shots and videos of their first court appearances.

But it turns out, none of the allegations against them were true. Now the couple is left to wonder how their online footprints will impact the rest of their lives.

We learned this week the Hoskinsons were falsely accused of child abuse by a family member. After being cleared, their jobs as educators were reinstated.

The charges were dropped, but it took two months to clear their names, legally.

Attorney Anthony Rickman says it's almost impossible to undo what's already been done online, but it is possible to minimize the damage.

LINK: Cleared of accusations, Coleman principal returns to work

"It's very hard to get rid of that," said Rickman. "There are websites, companies [such as] Reputation Defender, that can do what they can do to lower the bad stories on Google and raise to the forefront the more favorable stories. Basically your hiding the negatives."

Rickman says you can also expunge your criminal record, but that takes time and money.

It could take up to 10 months to get something removed from public records and it's not cheap.

"What that does effectively is remove that case, destroys that case from public record. It allows the mug shot to be removed. It also takes the information off the clerk's website and the physical file is destroyed," said Rickman.

Rickman says, aside from damaging their reputations, the Hoskinsons won't even get their money back for posting bond, not to mention their attorney fees.

But all of this pales in comparison to Michael's real focus which, he says, is on rebuilding his work and family life.

His reputation, he says, will take care of itself. 

"I go back to being Mike. I can only be me and that's it. Leading with my heart that's what I've always done," said Hoskinson.