Teenage girl testifies in county attorney trial
A teenage girl has testified in the trial of a northern Minnesota prosecutor accused of sexual misconduct.
The Associated Press reports witnesses took the stand Tuesday in the trial of Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell in St. Louis County Court. The 47-year-old is charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for an alleged inappropriate relationship with the girl.
The 19-year-old girl testified that Scannell kissed and sexually touched her in 2012, when she was 17.
WTIP’s Martha Marnocha reports the girl described him as a "father-figure" and a "mentor, helping her with a range of aspects” in her life. Her mother told jurors Scannell had been a family friend for 10 years and that she and her husband had been worried about Scannell’s “extreme interest” in the girl even before the relationship became known.
The young woman spent about three hours on the witness stand, fielding questions from special prosecutor Tom Heffelfinger about the nature of her relationship with Scannell. Judge Shaun Floerke sent jurors home at 5 p.m., putting cross-examination on hold until this morning.
Defense attorney Joe Tamburino told jurors that Scannell would take the stand in his own defense.
Because the age of consent in Minnesota is 16 for most purposes, the prosecution must show that Scannell was in a “position of authority” over the girl at the time of their physical relationship in order to prove that a crime was committed.
The trial is scheduled to conclude by the end of the week.