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Charges filed in sexual assault of child in Brooklyn Park

Witnesses say the defendant, 18-year-old Jonah Paul Canny, was inside a porta potty at Willowstone Park at the same time as the alleged 6-year-old victim.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — A Brooklyn Park man is now charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old boy inside a portable toilet at a city park. 

The criminal complaint lays out the case against 18-year-old Jonah Paul Canny, who is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim who is under the age of 13. 

On May 26 just after 11 p.m. Brooklyn Park police received a report that the boy had been assaulted at Willowstone Park earlier that evening. The child's uncle told police he brought the young victim and some other family members to the park around 6 p.m., and when they were going to leave around 9 p.m. they noticed the boy was missing. They eventually located him in a porta potty and when the child exited an older male, later identified by a witness as Canny, came out after him. 

RELATED: Suspect arrested in sexual assault of 6-year-old in Brooklyn Park

The uncle reportedly told police that he confronted Canny, who said the boy had become stuck in the portable toilet and and he was just trying to help. 

When the child got home he told his mother that a man had taken off his clothes and touched him inappropriately. The uncle recalled that the man in the porta potty was wearing a black shirt and white shoes, and gave police a description of the suspect. Investigators showed him a series of photos, and he selected Jonah Canny as the man who was with his nephew, saying he was "pretty sure" it was him but that there were differences with the suspect's hair and mustache. 

After making a plea for the public's help in identifying a suspect in the sexual assault, police received a call from a woman who told them she believed Canny was involved. The tipster said he had been away from his home from at least 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. the night of the incident, and that Canny is drawn to small children, frequents the park and has a history of similar behavior.

That person also told investigators that Canny was wearing a black shirt and white shoes when he came home that night. 

If convicted in the assault Jonah Canny faces a potential 25-year prison sentence. 

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