Man pleads guilty to lesser charges in stalk­ing case

The Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Rikki King Her­ald Writer

AR­LING­TON — An Ar­ling­ton vet­eri­nar­ian and elected hospi­tal com­mis­sioner who was ac­cused of stalk­ing his ex-girl­friend has pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Ti­mothy H. Ca­vanagh, 61, ad­mit­ted to first-de­gree do­mes­tic-vi­o­lence tres­pass­ing and car prowl­ing at the wo­man’s house. Both are mis­de­meanor of­fenses. In court pa­pers from Aug. 29, Ca­vanagh ad­mit­ted he en­tered the wo­man’s home on Ca­mano Is­land with the in­tent to com­mit a crime.

His at­tor­ney told the judge, how­ever, that Ca­vanagh had only opened a win­dow to try to eaves­drop on the wo­man. She told po­lice they had been bro­ken up for more than a year. He claimed the re­la­tion­ship was on­go­ing.

Ca­vanagh had been drink­ing at the time, and his “heart­break” over re­la­tion­ship prob­lems con­trib­uted to his be­hav­ior, his at­tor­neys wrote.

“As this court might imag­ine, Ti­mothy is mor­ti­fied by his own choices here,” they wrote in court pa­pers.

Ca­vanagh ini­tially was charged with bur­glary and stalk­ing. He had no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal his­tory, but in Jan­uary he also was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of DUI.

In the stalk­ing case, Ca­vanagh was sen­tenced in Is­land County Su­pe­rior Court to 364 days in jail. All but 45 days were sus­pended so long as he doesn’t have any fur­ther crim­i­nal vi­o­la­tions. He’s al­lowed to serve his time on work re­lease, court pa­pers show.

Ca­vanagh was or­dered not to con­tact the wo­man for five years.

Through his at­tor­neys, he de­clined to com­ment for this story.

Po­lice al­leged that they ar­rested Ca­vanagh when they found him hid­ing in the bushes af­ter a Jan. 8 break-in at the wo­man’s home.

Ca­vanagh was dressed in black

and wear­ing a ski mask, pros­e­cu­tors wrote in the charg­ing pa­pers. He also had a high-pow­ered monoc­u­lar de­vice, the kind used for hunt­ing and bird-watch­ing.

His crim­i­nal case has com­pli­cated his po­lit­i­cal life.

Ca­vanagh serves as an elected com­mis­sioner for Cas­cade Val­ley Hospi­tal, also known as Sno­homish County Hospi­tal Dis­trict 3. His ex­girl­friend is an em­ployee there and ob­tained a pro­tec­tion or­der.

Un­der the or­der, Ca­vanagh was not al­lowed on the hospi­tal grounds when the wo­man was work­ing.

At one point, he was ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing the or­der and was ar­rested by Ar­ling­ton po­lice. He pleaded not guilty to the mis­de­meanor and is ex­pected to go to trial in that case later this year.

He opted to take a leave of ab­sence af­ter the Is­land County stalk­ing charges were filed. By April though, he re­turned to the board and the hospi­tal’s pub­lic meet­ings were moved to Ar­ling­ton City Hall so he could at­tend, doc­u­ments show.

As for his DUI case in Sk­agit County, he pleaded guilty Aug. 11 to neg­li­gent driv­ing, also a mis­de­meanor. A hit-an­drun charge from the same in­ci­dent was dis­missed as part of the plea.

Ca­vanagh was ap­pointed to the hospi­tal board in 2000, elected that year and re-elected in 2005 and 2011. While he was fac­ing trial on the stalk­ing charge, management of the hospi­tal was taken over by Sk­agit Re­gional Health.

Ca­vanagh re­mains in his role as chair­man of the hospi­tal’s board.

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