County Attorney Scannell had relationship with teen months after being shot by sex offender

Scannell allegedly told the girl's mom: "She's 17, she can make her own decisions, it's not like she's 11 or 14."
Scannell allegedly told the girl's mom: "She's 17, she can make her own decisions, it's not like she's 11 or 14."

Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell has been hit with a court order to stop communicating with a 17-year-old girl with whom he was romantically involved.

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News of the restraining order has an ironic twist: It comes less than a year after Scannell was shot multiple times and nearly killed in Cook County Courthouse by a 42-year-old man who had just been convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old girl while he was in his 30s.

More information about Scannell's relationship with the girl comes courtesy of the Duluth News Tribune:

According to the petition seeking the restraining order, signed by both of the girl's parents, Scannell, 46, is known to the victim and her family as a friend, coach, mentor and volunteer. He gave the girl guitar lessons and coached her in a summer tennis program. The two sets of parents and their children socialized together.

The girl's mother said that Scannell came to her place of employment on Sept. 25 and told her he loved her daughter and that his relationship with her became physical over the summer with "kissing and touching, but nothing illegal." The age of consent in Minnesota is 16.

The petition states that the mother said that while Scannell was at her workplace he texted the girl and read the mother some of the love poetry he sent the girl. He also described a necklace he gave the girl. He said they talked about having children together some day, but they decided he would be too old. He said that they planned for her to go to college in the Twin Cities area so that he could visit her, and later they would move to Australia together.

The parents asked their daughter if she was in love with Scannell. She replied, "I don't think so." When they asked her about moving to Australia, she said, "I guess I thought that was a joke." She said they had done nothing illegal over the summer, leading the parents to believe that Scannell had coached her to reply that way, according to the petition.

Scannell is a married father of two. After he showed up at the girl's mother's workplace in late September, the mother made him promise to leave her daughter alone. But in the restraining order filing, the mother claims Scannell has continued to communicate with the girl even while she's studying abroad in Barcelona via texts, letters, and packages.

News of Scannell's relationship prompted the creation of "Let's get Tim Scannell out of office" Facebook page. It received 25 likes in its first four hours of existence. Scannell is currently in the midst of a five-week psychological treatment program in Arizona and has taken a medical leave from his job as Cook County Attorney.

As MPR's Bob Collins notes, there's a strange tradition of older men having sexual relationships with teenage girls in Grand Marais, site of the Cook County courthouse. And in another ironic twist, that tradition was decried by Scannell himself after he was shot last year.

From the Star Tribune:

After his recovery, Scannell was outspoken about the trend of older men preying on young girls in Grand Marais.

"That's what we should all be talking about right now: that we were able to put a stop to his preying on young girls in our community," he told the Duluth News Tribune earlier this year.

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