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Continued: Cook Co. top prosecutor charged with criminal sexual conduct

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS
  • Last update: October 31, 2013 - 10:10 PM

Prosecutor brought in

Heffelfinger was appointed in March to review and broaden the findings of a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into last year’s allegations of an improper relationship.

“It was important to me in this case that the investigation be thorough so that whatever happened would reflect all the facts,” he said. “That’s why I, frankly, wasn’t in any rush.”

Given the nature of the charges, and the small size of the community, Heffelfinger said, he wanted to make the announcement in Grand Marais.

Since the allegations surfaced, some community members have objected — both in an online petition and with protests Friday in front of the courthouse — to Scannell’s decision to remain county attorney. In a statement last year, Scannell apologized for “a breach of trust” but vowed to stay on the job.

Parents call for resignation

His critics and supporters have made their case in the local newspaper, the Cook County News-Herald.

The teenager’s parents wrote a letter arguing that Scannell ought to resign not only as county attorney but also as a coach and volunteer.

“It is inconceivable to us that Tim could continue to serve this county in any capacity,” they wrote in December 2012. “We hope that Tim sees the wisdom in resigning from his job, leaving our community, and sparing our daughter further anguish.”

In a note to friends that was shared with the newspaper, Scannell’s wife, Lynn Swanson, said she was “furious and hurt” by the media’s “over-dramatized” portrayal of the situation.

“Obviously, this behavior is not something he would ever have engaged in before the shooting,” she wrote. “That isn’t an excuse for the bad judgment, but it does put the lack of foresight in context.”

 

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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