Former Stewartville teacher convicted of sexual abuse

SKINNESS

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A jury deliberated less than four hours before convicting a former Stewartville elementary school teacher of sexually abusing a student.

68-year-old Francis Skinness will be sentenced May 5 on the three felony counts. The most serious charge carries a mandatory sentence of 12 years. Olmsted County District Judge Robert Birnbaum ordered Skinness released on his own recognizance Friday until sentencing.

Prosecutors say the abuse happened in a storage room at Bonner Elementary School in Stewartville in the 2005-06 school year.

Defense attorney Rebecca Moore told jurors there were no witnesses and asked why a teacher would abuse a student in a room where someone could have walked in at any time.

Skinness was convicted in 2011 of sexually abusing another girl, who testified in this trial.

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