HUDSON — The sentencing of Earl Swanigan, who admitted to touching a woman without her consent while collecting signatures for his nominating petition for city mayor, has been postponed.
City Judge Brian J. Herman adjourned sentencing on Thursday until Sept. 7 to allow the defense attorney to respond to a pre-sentencing report.
“There are numerous items that I would like to address in court,” defense attorney Dennis McEvoy said. “Therefore, I would respectfully request a two-week adjournment for the sentencing so I could provide those materials to the court.”
Swanigan was originally charged with second-degree criminal trespass and forcible touching, both class A misdemeanors.
He entered a woman’s unlocked home on the morning of June 6 without her permission and then told the woman he was obtaining signatures to support his run for city mayor, Hudson police have said.
He then made unwanted contact and forcibly touched the woman, police said. The woman was home alone at the time of the incident, police said.
Hudson police have investigated the incident since June 7 after receiving a complaint of sexual abuse.
Swanigan pleaded guilty on July 13.
Lynelle Hopkins represented the state on behalf of the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.
Swanigan is up against only one other candidate — Harry “Rick” Rector, a 1st Ward alderman — in the Democratic primary. Rector is also listed as the candidate on the Republican and Conservative party lines.
Swanigan’s designating petitions to run for mayor were submitted to the Columbia County Board of Elections by the deadline.
It is unclear at this time how his conviction will impact Swanigan’s candidacy. A message left for a Columbia County Board of Elections commissioner was not immediately returned on Friday.
Swanigan’s arrest record includes a conviction for battery, a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, in Polk County in 1999. He has previously served 5 1/2 years in prison for drug sales.
Before the adjournment, Herman offered to recuse himself from taking further action in case. Neither Hopkins nor McEvoy objected.
“We both conduct business on Warren Street; I have business there I have real estate there,” Herman said. “Mr. Swanigan is an artist, a local artist who exhibits his work at the shops as well. I have an interest in a building in which Mr. Swanigan sets up his art outside. He does it without my permission and I never expressed any objection to it. He has done it from time to time. Recently, I did notice since his last appearance that he was set up again in front of my building.”
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.
*Editor's note: This story corrects an earlier version. Earl Swanigan is not a candidate for the Hudson mayoral seat.