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 ex-girlfriend 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-and-run 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.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org; @rikkiking.