Prosecutors Friday filed a felony charge against a La Crosse grandmother who failed to notify authorities that her 9-year-old granddaughter was being sexually assaulted.

The 54-year-old woman, whom the Tribune is not identifying to shield the identity of the victim, is charged in La Crosse County Circuit Court with failure to protect a child. She returns to court Friday for a preliminary hearing.

Vanin McKinnon, 40, of La Crosse is charged with molesting the child from 2013 until August.

The victim’s mother said her daughter told her about the abuse more than two years ago but that McKinnon denied it, according to the complaint. Police arrested the girl’s mother for failure to protect a child, but she has not yet been charged.

The girl told authorities that her grandmother had witnessed at least one assault. The grandmother told police she caught McKinnon looking at the girl naked and reported the conduct to the girl’s mother but failed to notify police because “she didn’t want the system to get involved and take (the victim) away,” according to the complaint.

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Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at ajungen@lacrossetribune.com or 608-791-8224.