By Lisa Pett
A man from Fond du Lac County faced a Portage Co. judge this week on charges he molested an 11-year-old girl while staying at a local hotel.
Scott Knuuttila, 38 of Brandon, has been formally charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child under 12 during a stay at a Highway 10 East hotel in May of 2013. Knuuttila was reportedly a close friend of the victim’s father, and was taken a trip with the girl and her younger sister.
According to the criminal complaint, Fond du Lac county deputies and Stevens Point police worked cooperatively to track down Knuuttila’s whereabouts after the victim’s mother came forward.
Initially, neither the mother nor the girl knew the exact location of the hotel. Fond du Lac police used a building description from the girl, coupled with a geo-tag of Facebook messages sent between the girls’ father and Knuuttila while he was at the hotel.
Computer forensic specialists were able to determine the messages were sent from the east side of Stevens Point. The hotel in question provided a receipt proving Knuuttila stayed there May 17-18.
In an interview with police, the child said Knuuttila repeatedly touched her genitals while they shared a bed. The girl’s sister slept on a cot in the room.
Knuuttila confirmed his hotel stay with the girls to Fond du Lac deputies when interviewed, and later admitted to touching the child and to watching child pornography. A search of his cell phone revealed pornographic images primarily of prepubescent girls engaged in sexual activity.
Knuuttila is currently behind bars in Fond du Lac County, where he is being held on a $75,000 cash bond for 10 counts of possession of child pornography. His trial is scheduled to begin there on November 5.
Judge Thomas Eagon ordered a $50,000 cash bond for Knuuttila in Portage Co., where he’ll appear via video for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 19.
If convicted in Portage Co. he faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.