Scannell ousted as Cook County attorney after sex misconduct case

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 31, 2014 - 8:02 PM

Two recent convictions on sexual misconduct charges with girl, 17, led to dismissal of Tim Scannell.

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Tim Scannell, left, joined colleagues in petitioning the Legislature in 2012 for better protection for prosecutors.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

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Tim Scannell, newly convicted of two felony sex crimes, was removed Thursday as Cook County attorney and succeeded by someone who put her life in danger as her now-former boss bled from a courthouse shooting.

The action came in an unscheduled meeting of the County Board and included the appointment as county attorney of Molly Hicken, who is the only candidate for the post on the November ballot.

The five commissioners “basically recognized the vacancy in our county attorney’s office that was triggered by the conviction” and acted as the law allows, said County Administrator Jay Kieft.

Kieft called the action a “rational response to what’s been an emotionally charged set of events. … An action of some sort was certainly anticipated.”

Scannell, who did not attend the meeting, is now off the county payroll, Kieft said. Reached on Thursday, Scannell declined to comment about the board’s action.

Last Friday, jurors convicted Scannell, 48, of two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual misconduct related to his relationship with a 17-year-old girl. He was accused of kissing and touching the girl in a sexual way in two different instances in 2012. He was a family friend and knew the girl for several years.

Scannell had placed himself on a self-declared medical leave in October and was still being paid. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 26 in St. Louis County District Court. State sentencing guidelines call for probation.

Scannell, of Grand Marais, has blamed his conduct on post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from when he was shot and wounded at the Grand Marais courthouse in 2011 by a defendant.

Hicken, along with others at the scene, was credited with saving Scannell’s life following the shooting. Hicken helped the bailiff keep the shooter subdued while he was disarmed.

Hicken has been an assistant county attorney for the past seven years. She is a graduate of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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