Ex-teacher Skinness faces more sex abuse charges

Published 4:45pm Saturday, May 25, 2013

Another alleged victim has accused former Stewartville Elementary teacher and Austin resident Francis Skinness of sexual abuse.


Skinness was charged Thursday and appeared in Olmsted County Court Friday on two charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, all felonies. The victim said the abuse happened when she was about 8 years old, during the 2005-2006 school year in a storage closet near the classroom, according to court records. The victim said Skinness fondled her, forced her to touch him and give him oral sex, among other acts.

Skinness was convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in October 2011 and was re-sentenced to 180 days in jail in March for skipping sex offender treatment classes. However, he was released early.

Skinness’ previous conviction stemmed from when he was a teacher at Bonner Elementary in Stewartville in 2009. Skinness inappropriately touched a 9-year-old girl on several occasions, according to a court complaint. The complaint said Skinness put his hand down the girl’s shirt, touched her breasts and put his lips on her ears. According to Olmsted County police reports, several girls in Skinness’ third-grade class complained of feeling uncomfortable around him, particularly when sitting on the “hot seat” with him, on which students would have to sit between his legs.

Skinness said actions were not sexually motivated; however, Skinness admitted to invading the girl’s space.

Skinness previously skipped a sex offender class in 2012, for which a judge found to be “intentional and inexcusable,” and sentenced Skinness to another 30 days in jail.

Skinness, now 67, is on seven years’ probation and was originally ordered to serve 30 days in the Olmsted County jail, pay $1,000 in fines, including restitution, participate in a sex offender program and serve 100 hours of community service.

When interviewed about the recent accusations, Skinness said he has limited memory of his accuser, and he now has memory problems.

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