The mother of a teen convicted in the October 2017 assault of a Blue Earth Area football player at a Winnebago party is facing four felony charges.
Shawna Barnett, 47, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been charged with aiding an offender; aiding an offender — obstructing investigation; conspiracy to aid an offender; and conspiracy to obstruct an investigation or prosecution.
According to a court complaint filed in Faribault County District Court, Barnett committed the offenses on or about Nov. 17 through Nov. 20.
The complaint says Barnett knew or had reason to know that her 17-year-old son and three others had participated in the physical and sexual assault of a teammate, who was a minor.
“(She) aided the defendants by advising the mother of a second defendant on coordinating the statements of certain witnesses, on gathering in and concealing certain photographic evidence and by facilitating or causing the loss of a cell phone with probable video evidence of the assaults,” says the complaint.
Barnett reportedly told another defendant’s mother, “the boys should deny, deny, deny all allegations of assault,” even though her son and the others wanted to “come clean.”
Barnett is accused of conspiring with a defendant’s mother and others to re-acquire or lose snaps or screenshots of the assaults.
The court complaint says that Barnett shared information from her son’s cell phone with her brother, who is a police officer in Pleasant Hill, Iowa.
Barnett’s brother reportedly told her that the four boys who beat their teammate could face charges of assault, sexual assault and child pornography.
“Defendant (Barnett) and a defendant’s mother consulted with each other and third parties about the assaults and worked to eliminate the risk of conviction or punishment for their sons and others,” says the complaint.
Barnett and a defendant’s mother knew video evidence of the assaults existed on her son’s cell phone and it could be recaptured by law enforcement, says the complaint.
The cell phone reportedly was lost during a trip Barnett and her family took to Iowa City to watch a football game.
In a text to a mother, Barnett says, “No matter what, all the boys there need to keep their mouths shut, deny, deny, deny. If there is no proof, then the weak link is what will get them.
Also, if there was a video or snap, those who took it should go back and see if it was saved or screen shot by anyone. That could bring them down also. And, they can all go to church and to confession and the rest is between them and God.”
Aiding an offender carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine; aiding an offender — obstructing investigation, 30 months in prison and a $5,000 fine; conspiracy to aid an offender, 2 ½ years in prison and a $2,500 fine; and conspiracy to obstruct an investigation and prosecution, 1 ¼ years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Barnett is scheduled to make her first court appearance at 3 p.m. on Oct. 8 before Judge Darci Bentz.