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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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4/29/2013 2:11:00 PM
Police chief's daughter indicted on sex-with-minor charges

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


PRESCOTT -- The Yavapai County Grand Jury has indicted Tessa Fanning for three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

The 21-year-old daughter of the Cottonwood police chief and a standout women's college softball player is charged with having a sexual relationship with a person under 18 two years ago, in 2011. She is to have a first appearance in Superior Court in early May.

It is not clear from redacted court documents that the two incidents are related, but the mother of a minor asked the Verde Valley Justice Court at that time for an order of protection to keep Fanning from contacting her child at her home or school.

Now, the Yavapai County Grand Jury has indicted Fanning for three Class 6 felonies involving a minor during the same time frame.

According to the earlier report in Verde Valley Justice Court, the minor's mother learned about a physical relationship between her child and Fanning and instructed Fanning should have no more contact with the 18-year-old.

Documentation from the lower court reports that in November of 2011, a sheriff's detective reported another meeting of the two by the side of the road. Shortly after that, the mother filed for an order of protection.

Attorney Thomas Kelly of Prescott will represent Fanning.

Related Stories:
• Fanning case a classic example of slow-moving wheels of justice
• Fanning makes first appearance before judge
• Tessa Fanning accepts scholarship from Western New Mexico University
• Tessa Fanning signs with Yavapai


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Article comment by: If the allegations are true

Then she needs to be handled like any other sex offender. Whether man or woman makes no difference, and whether the offender is gay or not makes no difference.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: What the heck

This person deserves what the court feels she deserves once convicted!

An adult man (over 18 yrs old) messing around with a 14 yr old child would be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life!

Sorry but that is reality!
She deserves the same!


Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Article comment by: Friend of the minor and her parents

As a close and personal friend of the family and someone who has been by their side from the beginning...let me clear up a few facts. Tessa was already graduated and 19. The minor was 14. They met through softball. When the girls began hanging out the mother asked people who knew Tessa for many years if it was ok....She was assured that Tessa was a great kid and that they didn't forsee any problems. Several months later the parents became concerned at the friendship that was forming. Their daughter was now 15. They tried to put a stop to the "relationship". On 2 occasions they had told Tessa that there was to be no more contact with their daughter. The contact stopped for a few months. But again contact was made. Tessa was now 20 and the minor still 15. When they were found together by deputies in November 2011 and the minor's parents were notified, they then realized that the proper authorities needed to be notified. The minor is 17 now and Tessa is almost 22. The parents are not seeking revenge, they are trying to protect their daughter. There are so many things that the public does not even begin to know details about. The decision to file charges was the County's, not the parents. The indictment did not miraculously appear....it has been an ongoing investigation since November 2011. Quit trying the case the in "Court of Public Opinion".

Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Article comment by: @ Pat Miner

If it was a 19 yr. old man with a 14 yr. old girl, you'd be howling for his head!

I realize you want to excuse the behavior because it's the politically correct thing to do in


Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Article comment by: pat miner

It appears to me that the anger expressed in the comments is more about a same sex relationship. Adolescence is a time for dealing with ones sexuality and it happens at different ages for kids and to even into adulthood. Are teenagers really aware that having a physical relationship with someone younger could be, under the law, sexual misconduct, I doubt it. I do not judge Tess's behavior but question her emotional maturity at the time of the relationship. Some questions to ask would be, was there coercion or threats involved or just to people attracted to each other?

I also wonder if it had been a male she was involved with would this situation even have been brought to the publics attention.


Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013
Article comment by: A Parent

Hey Loblaw, you're a wacko. I didn't make an excuse for anyone. I also didn't attack anyone, which was the point and apparently missed. How about leaving these families alone.

Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

@ A Parent

"But for the grace of God..."

But for the grace of God, what? There goes you?

That would certainly explain you trying to make excuses for an adult preying on a child.

It seems that you are the one who needs to "Back Off!"


Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013
Article comment by: @ Are you All Serious?

To clarify the parties in question met AFTER Tessa graduated. Yes she was 19 but the minor was only 14. They did not "grow up" together. They played ONE summer of competitive softball in the same organization, but technically not even on same team. So your information is incorrect. No matter how you try and justify it, it is WRONG!!!!! There is no excuse for it. These girls are almost 5 years apart in age.

Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013
Article comment by: The Cowpoke

When will they all grow up? That's adults I mean. This should never got to where it is but righteousness will prevail-won't it. It is true. Justice is blind.... and metered by adults.

Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Article comment by: A Parent

To All Parents: A reminder..."But for the grace of God..."

Back Off!


Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Are you all serious?

Because this has failed to be mentioned, I just want to say Tessa was a Senior in HIGH SCHOOL when this all happened. She turned nineteen her Senior year. Age means nothing in this because a Senior in high school can range in age from 17-18 ALL DEPENDING ON THEIR BIRTHDAY AND WHEN THEY WERE PUT INTO SCHOOL AS A CHILD. So those of you wanting Tessa to be deemed guilty of this crime, consider this: just because she is nineteen as a Senior in high school, she shouldn't be able to act as a normal young Senior would, and should act her 19-year-old age, typical of a Sophomore in college, robbing her of a normal high school experience because she should be more mature than all the 17 year olds she grew up with since a young age, just because her age says so? Does that sound right to you? At all? If it does, there is something wrong with you. Although she turned nineteen, a majority of her grade was 17, while the other half was just turning 18. She was two years older than half of her Senior class, and that's her fault? No. She should be able to act as any other Senior in high school, not having to worry about being an adult. This is a major factor everyone seems to be leaving out. Oh, and not to mention, when families (like both parties in this ordeal are) are involved in competitive softball in the Verde Valley, all girls grow up together, and know each other starting at a young age, so this relationship started out as solely a close friendship years prior to Tessa being 18.

Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Mav Rick

@Mary Jane
My opinion? She should be convicted and locked up. But..........
Here I was of the impression you were some left wing liber. Oh wait. This is against one of the ESTABLISHMENT. Not inclusive of your opinion as usual.


Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

To all the Police Chief's and his daughter's apologists - If you want to stop all the attention being given to this case, stop calling attention to it by making excuses for this behavior!

Just as Gene Pool so aptly put it: If a fireman's son commits arson, IT IS NEWS! If a race car driver's son dies in a car crash, IT IS NEWS! If a Police Chief's adult child is indicted for a sexual crime, IT IS NEWS!

Again, do you see how that works?


Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: Just Admit the Truth!

This ADULT FEMALE who is a standout college softball player, from a good family and yada, yada, yada ... needs to be honest and truthful of what happened. She is messing around with younger aged minors. I know that minors do what they want, but this police chief's daughter should have known better. She isn't above the law. What she did is an abomination in God's sight. What kind of memory is making for herself and for this person she victimized. Shame on her, and she needs to be served what people in her shoes need to be served, however long, however much. She needs to take it as an adult, and not expect any less. I am with the mom who is defending her child who is the VICTIM here, hope the pendulum swings her way, and this college standout softball player gets what she deserves.

Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Article comment by: larry mosher

I didn't see how old the other person was when it happened. She would have been 19. I also think that this crime shouldn't be prosecuted, because, if convicted, ms. fanning will end on sex offenders list and have to register her whereabouts. It will stigmatize her unfairly for life. I could give a crap less about whose daughter she was. This was a victimless crime!!!!


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