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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 29, 2016


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.

ICT - Taylor Waste
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 2, 2013
Article comment by: Teens and sex appalled

Teenagers now are living in a world of technology where they can communicate with internet, texting, picture exchanges and not to mention Skype, social networking and other means of communicating. These tools are also used to express them selves in sexual ways and find ways to meet each other or just engage in sexting, etc. Often times they lie about their ages and when things happen between them and real ages are brought forward the consequences are staggering to the older teen. Devastating.
Young men, 18 and junior/seniors in high school , like the Augenstein case mentioned here fall prey to the constant advances by these young girls.The girls often lie about their ages, dress inappropriately for their age and are very aggressive and sexual. Parents are not supervising the activities of their children in regards to data phones,internet use, social media,computers , etc. or where their daughters are hanging out and with whom.
There are so many factors. The young person should not bear the entire burden of guilt here. This was not a violent crime and this person will not have the opportunity that the chief's daughter will have in regards to favors from the system BECAUSE of her father's occupation.
How many teenage lives are we going to prosecute and ruin in the name of sexuality. Can the jail hold all the teenagers who either are having sex or trying to have sex?
The laws are written to stop pediphiles and child molesters, not teenagers experimenting with their sexuality. This is NOT about rape! It's about teenagers having consentual relashionships. Inappropriate, yes. A crime? I don't think so.


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: You're Wrong Allison Smith

Children are not responsible for their actions. A victim is a victim is a victim. If she had been 12, 13, or 14 you wouldn't dream of saying she had brought this on herself. Do everyone a favor and please stop spouting your nonsensical defense.

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: @ gene pool- -

So when there were 2 previous positive articles about her they did not have 'police chief's daughter' in the headline?

why does this only apply for negative stories?

Quid pro' quo ? yes or no?



Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Two Sides to Every Story Concerned Citizen

Are you worried about people you know or work with may or may not have a different life style? Why is the Chief of Police of Cottonwood on trial for what may or may not have happened or how it happened? Yes, he is an officer of the law and therefore people are able to sling his family name through the mud. As far as I can see it shouldn't matter who the families are. So far, there has only been one side of the story released. It would seem to me that there are always two sides to every story. Why don't we all wait until both sides of the story is known? Again, there are two sides to every story!


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Gene Pool

You people are nuts. Of course it matters when the child of law enforcement officer breaks the law. If the son of the fire chief was caught setting fires, you better believe his father's occupation would get mentioned. Just like when the Cottonwood cop's wife was busted for stealing, of course her husband's occupation was pertinent! If Tessa's dad ran a grocery store that would have no bearing on her getting arrested - unless she was caught shoplifting from his store! Get it?

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

@ whoever wrote @ryan j- -

I guess you didn't read my comment.

Chief Fanning's name was mentioned in this story because he is a public figure. If Hutchinson hadn't included that point, many of those who post here would be accusing the VI of colluding with police and "burying" that fact.

In America - a nation inexplicably fascinated by celebrity - the courts have shown over and over that certain persons - because of their status or position in the public realm - have a lesser degree of expectation of privacy.

Again, unfair...but it's a reality.


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: @ ryan j- -

So it would only be fair if everyone who is mentioned in an article has their parents publicly profiled right?

Heck they need to add a blank for mom and dad in the reply to comments form...

Just to be consistent... my daddy was a truck driver and mom was a roller derby queen-

She was five foot six and two fifteen
A bleached-blonde mama
With a streak of mean
She knew how to knuckle
And she knew how to scuffle and fight

(Bless you jim croce' in the interest of full disclosure!)

So who's your daddy and who's yer' momma, just in case you ever have familial drama...


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

@ Ryan Gildehaus

Sorry, Ryan, but as a high-ranking public official, Chief Fanning is a public figure, at least in this area....a "celebrity," if you will. There have been court cases fought, and lost, by folks in the public eye who have time and again found that they do not legally enjoy the same expectation to privacy as us regular folks.

That's why Hollywood starlets cannot sue when some paparazzo snaps her picture at the beach.

I'm not saying that's fair, but that is the way it is.


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

It's pretty obvious that the Chief is a very popular guy with lots of loyal friends! The fact that this investigation has taken 2 yrs shows that there might be a little professional courtesy given to his daughter as well. My guess
As for all the people who question whether this would be newsworthy without the perpetrator being related to the Chief of Police OF COURSE it is!

Anytime a Lesbian adult pursues a 15 yr old girl even after being warned by the child's parents and then again after having an order of protection issued, it's big news! Of course having the perp be the daughter of a lawman makes it even more salacious!!!! I would say that it's very surprising that the national news agencies haven't picked it up, YET.

As to Allison Smith, Your comments are completely inexcusable!


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: How ironic is it? -

The 2 articles that the story linked to... previous ones in this very paper... both headlines simply state the name and accomplishment...

Tessa Fanning accepts scholarship from Western New Mexico University
Tessa Fanning signs with Yavapai

but neither simply refer to her as 'police chief's daughter' as this one does.

Looks like this headline could be called a major dropped ball on the part of the paper, something that I would bet Tessa did not do very often in order to get the positive stories that are linked to.

In the fine balance of eye grabbing/paper selling headlines and journalistic integrity... integrity seems to have come out as the loser this time around.



Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Brian Carlson

I do not know Chief Fanning, but from reading the article and responses, I can see that this is a sour grapes response from someone who wants to cause problems for the Chief.
Do other family members get published with each news story? The charges against Chief Fanning's daughter stink with someone out to get the Chief.


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned For our children

If my 18 yr old son was trying to romance a 14 yr old child I would be sick to my stomach, and I can assure you I would also put a stop to it.
This is a crime and a very disturbing one indeed.
If my son was arrested for preying on 14 yr old girls he would surely be looking at prison and lifetime registry as a sex offender! There is no doubt!

She deserves to get the same punishment.


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: To John D !

Are you really trying to compare the Kether Augenstein case to this case??? Having sex with two children who are years younger is not the same thing. Stop defending your friend, the cases are completely different.

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Gildehaus

My problem with this story is that it has NOTHING to do with the Cottonwood Police Department or Police Chief Jody Fanning. When was the last time you saw a headline "Local Plumbers Daughter Arrested......" It was for the sole purpose of selling news papers and causing drama. Report it all you want.... Again It has NOTHING to do with the City of Cottonwood or the Police Department! Chief Fanning is a respectful man and his profession is not involved.

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: Allison Smith

@ Ryan Jensen, Mary Jane and Unwilling to post your name

You love the Verde I, because you sit around all day reading and waiting for someone to post something you can complain about and attack them for, so really just attack me some more and give all of us something to laugh about.

As I said before, I do not know any members of the Fanning family, but have never heard anything but wonderful things about them. I do however know that the real story is very rarely printed in the paper and that there is two sides to this story and only one side has chosen to take it public.

Now, I am a mother myself, I have three very successful and happy adult children. Most of what they have become is because of them, they are three amazing people. BUT, for the time they were VERY YOUNG their father and I taught them that they are responsible for THEIR actions. If you are 5 and you run into the kitchen and take a cookie when you knew you were not supposed to, you got in trouble. It did not matter if your 9 year old cousin told you to do it. When you are 15 or 16 and you are told to stay away from someone you do as you're were told or YOU suffer the consequence. We never allowed our children to blame others for their choices or decisions. And as their parents we would never blame another person for our child's actions.

That is the biggest issue here. To say that one is a victim and the other a pedophile based on what you read in the paper is sad. There is another side to this story, and it is wrong to blame one and actively try to ruin their live.

AND as a mother, if I thought someone HAD hurt my child, you can bet your sweet typing fingers that I would not have waited two years to take care of it, I would raise a god awful stick to get justice for my child ASAP!




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