Monday, November 4, 2013

The Scannell Scandal Continues

cross posted from MNPP
In December 2011, Cook County Prosecutor Timothy Scannell was shot by a man who had just been convicted of sex with an underage teen.

It is unclear if it was before, during, or after that trial and subsequent shooting that Scannell himself became involved with an underage girl.  That region of Minnesota has a long-standing culture of older men pursuing and exploiting young girls, including young women who are below the age of sexual consent in Minnesota.

That same culture is obsessed with firearms.

It is a uniquely conservative culture of perversion.  That forms a significant context to this case of what is locally normative.  It represents a local sense of ‘entitlement’ to this behavior in some circles, regardless of what the law is, or what is moral and ethical.

We see politics on the right that are anti-women, pro-violence towards women (as evidenced by the obstruction of anti-violence against women legislation), pro-rape of women, and intensely pro-gun, which tends to be expressed in many ways, including the intimidation of young women.

In spite of being an officer of the court, in spite of prosecuting others, Scannell has apparently decided he is above the law.  He (allegedly) repeatedly violated a restraining order not to have contact with the young woman he had groomed and pursued.  He continued to phone her, text her, send letters to her, and to send packages to her, even while he was supposedly in  an in-patient treatment facility in Arizona for psychological remediation of the trauma that resulted from the courthouse shooting, and which he blamed for his inappropriate relationship.

He has declined to resign from his position voluntarily, in spite of petitions and protests.  I can find no comparable indications of positive support for Scannell continuing in office, although he may have such supporters.  If so, they have kept a much lower profile.

It would seem dubious to believe the shooting was, as he and his wife claim, responsible for the underage relationship, particularly as the girl’s parents seem to believe it preceded the shooting.  Nor does trauma appear to justify being a scofflaw, either in the violation of a state law or a judicial order.  Rather it sounds a lot like failing to take responsibility for bad behavior, something we see repeatedly on the right, while the right gives worthless, empty lip service to personal accountability.  THAT is apparently something they demand — but only from OTHER people.

Yet Scannell refuses to step down, refuses to acknowledge that his inappropriate and apparently illegal conduct compromises his ability to represent the community in a court of law.  That would seem to be the ultimate hubris, but consistent with the conservative perversion tradition in the area.  That also argues against this being just a case of PTSD-caused aberrant behavior.

It is worth noting that in the press conference comments (see link below) held by the prosecuting attorney, it is specifically indicated that the charges of felony sexual misconduct are NOT related to the shooting of Mr. Scannell.

You can hear former U.S. Attorney Thomas Hefflefinger’s press conference explaining the indictments from the Grand Jury here.  The next court appearance is next week.

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