Posted at: 10/30/2013 11:11 AM
Updated at: 10/31/2013 10:40 PM
Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell has been charged with two counts fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The decision to charge Scannell was made by a grand jury from St. Louis County and was announced Thursday by Thomas Heffelfinger, a former U.S. Attorney who was appointed to review the case.
Last December, a 17-year-old girl's family asked for and was granted a restraining order against him. The order says that Scannell confessed he was in love with the girl in September 2012.
According to court documents related to the restrainting order, Scannell had an inappropriate relationship with the teenager, who he's known since she was a child.
Scannell is now on medical leave, which county officials said he requested about two weeks ago. He appeared in court Thursday and has not entered a plea.
In a written statement released Thursday, Scannell's attorney, Richard W. Swanson, said Scannell knows that he acted inappropriately but says he did not act criminally.
Scannell was shot in his office by a man who had just been convicted in December 2011. Thursday's statement said Scannell and his family have been under extreme stress since the shooting, and said the alleged events in this case "occurred while he was suffering in the darkest hours of his severe depression."
A group of citizens has been protesting over Scannell's continued position as county attorney each Friday for months, and has said they will until Scannell leaves office. He's up for re-election next fall.
The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility said Thursday they are aware of the charges. They will be initiating an investigation file and will monitor the matter.