Arlington hospital board chairman accused of stalking ex

Timothy H. Cavanagh

ARLINGTON — The elected chairman of Arlington’s public hospital district is charged with felony domestic-violence stalking and burglary.

Timothy H. Cavanagh, 60, was charged in January with stalking an ex-girlfriend who works at Cascade Valley Hospital, where he is on the governing board.

The woman reported an attempted break-in at her Camano Island home Jan. 8. Police allegedly found Cavanagh hiding in the bushes nearby, wearing all black, including a ski mask.

Cavanagh was arrested again Jan. 20 for allegedly violating a protection order that forbade him from contacting the woman. He went to the hospital for an evening board meeting but left before it started, according to Arlington police. They arrested him at his home later that night.

Cavanagh also has a pending court case in Skagit County, where he is accused of drunken driving and hit-and-run Jan. 27.

He did not attend the January and February hospital board meetings, Cascade Valley spokeswoman Jennifer Egger said Monday.

Cascade Valley is part of the taxpayer-funded Snohomish County Hospital District 3, which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Silvana and surrounding areas. Nearly 20,000 registered voters live in the district.

Cavanagh was appointed to the hospital board in 2000, elected that year and re-elected in 2005 and 2011. Hospital commissioners are paid $114 a meeting and serve six-year terms.

His position with the board has not changed, Egger said.

“We have no comment on Dr. Cavanagh’s personal life,” she said.

Until this year, Cavanagh had no criminal history. He lives near Arlington, where he also owns a downtown veterinary practice.

His legal troubles started just before 11 p.m. Jan. 8.

His ex-girlfriend called 911, saying she’d seen a man’s arms reaching through her bathroom window. She yelled and the arms withdrew.

Island County sheriff’s deputies reportedly found Cavanagh’s truck parked at a nearby cemetery. The hood was warm. Deputies using night-vision goggles spotted Cavanagh in the bushes about 200 yards from the woman’s house.

Cavanagh was dressed entirely in black and was wearing a ski mask, according to the charges. He had a high-powered monocular device, the kind used for hunting or bird-watching. He allegedly told deputies, “I’m just here hanging out.”

The Herald obtained the police reports through a public records request.

The woman told deputies that she and Cavanagh had broken up more than a year ago. He reportedly told police they still were dating and he had concerns about her seeing someone else. He allegedly admitted to having spied on her at her house at least once before, on New Year’s Eve. He denied being on her property Jan. 8.

Cavanagh allegedly told a deputy “this would likely hurt her more than him after he told everyone at the hospital what she was doing,” the report says. “… Cavanagh made several statements indicating that he was going to air the victim’s dirty laundry at her place of work and at one point declared, ‘It’s on.’ ”

Detectives allegedly found receipts in Cavanagh’s pockets that had been taken from a truck parked in the woman’s driveway. He was given a blood-alcohol test. It showed 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit to drive. Cavanagh was booked into the Island County Jail. He’s pleaded not guilty and is free awaiting trial on $40,000 bail.

On Jan. 11, detectives obtained a judge’s permission to search his truck, which had been impounded. It appeared he had been sleeping in the truck before his arrest, records show. The driver’s seat was reclined and there was a pillow and blanket inside. Investigators also reportedly found a Cabela’s receipt for the monocular dated Jan. 2. The receipt listed cold-weather gear. In the truck was what appeared to be a handwritten shopping list that read “bino,” for binoculars, and “warm boots? heated socks?”

Detectives believe the receipt and the list are potential evidence of plans for stalking.

Cavanagh was charged Jan. 12 with domestic-violence burglary, domestic-violence stalking and car prowling. He is due in court again in April.

Meanwhile, the hospital board’s regular monthly meeting was at 6 p.m. Jan. 20. Records show Cavanagh was scheduled to speak on the January agenda, but he had an excused absence. There is no specific hospital policy that governs what happens if commissioners miss meetings, Egger said.

That night, the woman with the protection order was at work and saw Cavanagh on hospital grounds, said Kristin Banfield, spokeswoman for the Arlington Police Department. The woman alerted hospital security.

Cavanagh reportedly entered the hospital at 5:40 p.m. and left about 6 p.m., before the scheduled meeting. Police were told about the incident two hours later and went to his house.

“She had a valid protection order that prohibited him from being there when she was in the building,” Banfield said. “He violated that. She reported the violation and we arrested him for the violation.”

Cavanagh was booked and posted bail, records show. He pleaded not guilty, and trial in that case is scheduled for April. Another no-contact order with a longer term was filed.

Then, on Jan. 27, Cavanagh was arrested for investigation of DUI and hit-and-run in Anacortes. He allegedly took off after hitting an unoccupied car. Charges have been filed in that case as well. A hearing is scheduled next month.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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