After the cameras stopped rolling last night a district court judge granted the acquittal of a county employee facing stalking charges.
Scott Tepner was the former Management Information Systems Director for Cerro GordoCounty.
He was accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend, but late Tuesday afternoon, the district judge decided to acquit Tepner of these charges.
“They’re very rare, in 21 years I’ve actually never seen one.”
Richard Piscopo and his client Scott Tepner are breathing a sigh of relief. The defense attorney says after the state rested its case Tuesday, he made a motion that’s normally just a formality, but in this case the judge granted his request for an acquittal.
“There just wasn’t enough evidence but for some reason the special prosecutor continued to press and press and take the word of this one individual with no supporting evidence from any other witness or documents,” explains Piscopo.
This is the 4th trial in which Tepner faced allegations from his ex-girlfriend, who this time accused him of felony stalking.
The state’s burden was to prove she feared for life-or that she’d be hurt.
But the judge ruled there was not sufficient evidence.
“The troubling thing when there is an acquittal that sends a message sometimes to victims that maybe it’s not worth it to report or no one is going to believe you anyway,” says Mary Ingham with Crisis Intervention Services in Mason City.
But a case like this that generates media attention can ultimately impact others.
Those with Crisis Intervention Services in Mason City tell us they often play an active role in supporting those who believe they’re victims of abuse.
They say anytime a stalking allegation goes public, it raises awareness of a very real problem.
“If anyone’s out there that feels like they’re being stalked or their being harassed or abused the number one thing I want them to know is that help is available and to reach out for help,” says Ingham.
For Scott Tepner, he just wants to move forward and return to his job with the county.
“The county has spent an exorbitant amount of money trying to prosecute Scott by hiring a special prosecutor 4 times, it’s time that the county steps up to the plate, does the right thing, realizes they were wrong and offer Scott his job back,” adds Piscopo.
Tepner was put on un-paid administrative leave last year.
We did reach out to the CountyBoard of Supervisors, they oversea the IT Department.
They say the issues go further than the charges that Tepner faced and it’s a personnel matter.
We also reached out to special prosecutor Mark Young, who had no comment on the outcome of the trial.