Cook County Reacts to Charges Against Attorney Tim Scannell

By KBJR News 1

October 31, 2013 Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 6:14 PM CDT

Grand Marais, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell has been charged with criminal sexual misconduct for having an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

Dozens gathered outside the Cook County Courthouse Thursday for the reading of the charges.

Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell made his first appearance in Cook County Court Thursday morning.

The charges are related to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl in Grand Marais in the Summer of 20-12

After a ten month investigation..

"Two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 4th degree," said Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger.

Finally some answers for Cook County in the investigation related to County Attorney Tim Scannell's behavior. A grand jury returned an indictment against charging Scannell with sexual misconduct with a girl under the age of 18. Minnesota law states people can consent to sex at age 16 but the charges were brought because of extenuating circumstances...

"involving a person of authority and a victim under the age of 16 but under 18 and an offender more than 48 months older," said Heffelfinger.

The investigation followed the issuance of a restraining order filed by a Grand Marais family alleging Scannell had been stalking their daughter and harassing the family. The restraining order showed Scannell admitted to a physical relationship with the 17-year-old girl which included kissing and touching but said nothing illegal took place.

"This is a very difficult case for this community, because it is a small town and a tight knit community and I'm well aware of that. It's a very difficult case for the victim and her family and It's a very difficult case for Mr. Scannell as well and I recognize that he has had a very difficult two year period," said Heffelfinger.

Cook County Commissioner Garry Gamble has watched this case carefully because of its important to the community and his responsibility as a commissioner to stay informed. He said he's not celebrating the charges but hoping for a peaceful resolution for everyone.

"In the community, that we can learn from it, from the individuals and the victims of this and the family that has hopes for their daughter and her healthy life as an adult, that they grow from this and become stronger and Mr. Scannell learns the opportunity and availability of what redemption really means of restoring what has been lost because of bad choices," said Garry Gamble, Cook County Commissioner.

Gary Nasgoda has been outside protesting every Friday since the restraining order was approved. He has called for Scannell to be re-called from office and says he's happy charges have finally been filed.

"It's some kind of acknowledgement we haven't been out here for nothing," said Gary Nasgoda, who has been protesting since last December against Scannell.

Nasgoda says this is a fair outcome.

"Justice has to be universal, regardless of your position of the amount of cash in your pocket and what's all we're going for," said Nasgoda.

We reached out to Tim Scannell for comment but he did not want to speak to us. Instead, his attorney Richard Swanson issued a statement on his behalf.

In the statement he said quote "Tim knows that he acted inappropriately and continues to apologize and make amends for his poor decision and the pain he has caused the family involved, his own family, the community, and all of their friends."

Scannell will be back in court on November 12 in Cook County.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati