MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Cook County attorney Tim Scannell is under a restraining order amid accusations that he had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
The girl’s parents filed the order on her behalf this week, saying they fear for her safety.
According to court documents, Scannell, who is 47 and married, believes he and the girl are “soul mates.” Her parents worry the relationship may have started before she was legally able to consent.
The restraining order details how close Scannell’s family and the girl’s family were. Her parents say he acted as a mentor, having known her since the third grade.
The girl’s parents say Scannell admitted to kissing and touching her over the summer, but said nothing illegal happened. Court documents also detail plans Scannell supposedly made with the high school senior that include talk of having children and moving to Australia.
One night in late September, the girl’s mother says Scannell sent her several text messages, at one point saying: “I promised [your husband] that I would stay away from her and would not off myself, because that would kill her and [my wife] and the kids.” But even after promising not to have any contact with the teen, her parents claim Scannell continued to send her gifts, texts and even Skyped with her.
On Thursday, the BCA acknowledged they are conducting an investigation in Cook County at the request of the sheriff, but wouldn’t give any more details.
Scannell became a public figure in December 2011 after he was wounded in a courthouse shooting in Grand Marais by a man he had successfully prosecuted. He went on to testify before state lawmakers in support of a bill to allow county attorneys and assistant attorneys to carry guns on duty if they have a valid permit. The bill passed and was signed into law last spring.
WCCO-TV tried to contact Scannell, but he did not return our phone calls.
Scannell’s attorney, Joe Tamburino, said in a statement that Scannell intends to stay in his job “and trusts that this matter will resolve quickly.”
“Mr. Scannell deeply regrets the pain and heartache that this situation has caused the family in question,” the statement said. “However, Mr. Scannell has not committed any crime or any act of harassment.” The statement also said “no sexual conduct” occurred between the prosecutor and the teen.
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