Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A jury has found Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell guilty on both counts of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct.
Tim Scannell sat emotionless as the guilty verdict was read.
The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for nearly nine hours before returning their verdict.
Scannell was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old Grand Marais girl in the summer of 20-12.
The teen testified that in August of 20-12, Scannell picked her up in his family van and drove out to a secluded road and parked.
She testified that the two kissed, and Scannell took it further, touching her breasts, stomach, and butt.
The teen said Scannell pressed her to have sex and oral sex with him, but she refused.
Scannell testified that the two had a relationship and he was in love with her, but he never touched her sexually.
Under Minnesota law, anyone 16 and up can consent to sexual activity.
Because of this, the jury had to weigh whether Scannell held a position of authority over the teen at the time of the incident.
Defense Attorney Joseph Tamburino argued that Scannell's relationship with the girl may have been immoral, but not illegal.
Tamburino also argued that Scannell did not hold a position of authority over the girl.
Prosecutor Tom Heffelfinger hopes the outcome of this case will bring closure to those impacted.
"I believe with the final resolution of these charges that the victim, her family and the people of Cook County can move on with their affairs and put this chapter of their lives behind them."
"We respect the juries verdict. We disagree with it, but we respect it, we think it was a hard case to decide. I mean obviously on one hand everything that Mr. Scannell sufferred is just tremendous, it's just such a tragedy. On the other hand, being the elected county attorney, in a position like that, in a county of only five thousand people, makes this a very difficult case."
Because Scannell has no criminal record and because of Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the attorneys say he is more than likely facing supervised probation as punishment.
Tamburino says he's expecting to mount an appeal.
As of now, Scannell is still the serving Cook County Attorney, but has been on an indefinite medical leave since October of 2013
His term is up at the end of this year and he is not seeking a third term.
Scannell will be sentenced on September 26.
Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati