Riverhead Town supervisor candidate Greg Fischer is facing harassment charges that were filed recently by the head of the nonprofit advocacy group Parents for Megan’s Law, authorities said.
The charges stem from an Oct. 6 incident that occurred outside the Suffolk County Legislature building in Hauppauge, where Mr. Fischer had just testified before a public safety committee dealing with a proposal pertaining to child abduction issues.
Mr. Fischer, who is now involved with three cases pending on the criminal docket in Suffolk District Court, is running on an independent line called Riverhead First, which he created. He is facing two misdemeanor charges filed after his arrest on Jan. 20, 2009 — one charge of resisting arrest and one charge of obstructing governmental administration. Both charges are in the second degree and are misdemeanors. He also faces a traffic charge for making an improper turn, according to court records.
“ … Mr. Fischer allegedly approached [Megan’s Law executive director] Laura Ahearn, an employee of the Crime Victims Center, in the lobby of the Legislature building,” Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, told the News-Review Friday.
Mr. Fischer was notified by mail in 2009 that he was not to contact or communicate with any member of the Crime Victims Center, which is run by the Megan’s Law group, Mr. Clifford noted.
On Oct. 6, Mr. Clifford continued, “Ms. Ahearn told [Mr. Fischer] he was not to communicate with her. The defendant allegedly then followed the complainant and screamed, ‘You have to speak with me.’ Ms. Ahearn reiterated that he was not to speak to her and, as she walked away from him, the defendant, screaming, ‘I’m going to make you speak with me,’ followed Ms. Ahearn and waited outside the door of a reception office area where she had gone. He then allegedly followed her, while she was escorted by a police official, into a meeting room. When the police official left, Mr. Fischer moved from the back of the room to sit across the aisle from the complainant. When Ms. Ahearn left the room on two occasions to make phone calls, Mr. Fischer allegedly followed her out of the room and stood opposite her in the lobby.”
Parents for Megan’s law is a nonprofit that describes itself as a “community and victim’s rights organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse.” The Crime Victims Center is a program designed to link all victims of violent crime with crime victim compensation and multi-agency referrals for support and assistance.
Ms. Ahearn filed second-degree harassment charges against Mr. Fischer and later obtained a temporary restraining order against him from the courts, requiring him to stay away from her. Mr. Fischer was arraigned in district court on Oct. 17 on the second-degree harassment charge, which is a violation. He pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance, and is scheduled to return to court Nov. 29, Mr. Clifford said.
Mr. Fischer claims he was not harassing Ms. Ahearn and merely wanted to speak with her. He says Parents for Megan’s Law is trying to keep him from testifying before the Legislature because he sent a letter to lawmakers calling for a reduction in the group’s county funding.
Mr. Fischer said he had testified before the Legislature and Ms. Ahearn was talking to some of the people he had brought to testify with him.
“She came over to my group. I told her, ‘You have to talk to me.’ She said ‘I’m not talking to you,’ ” Mr. Fischer said. “I told her, ‘We’re going to talk at some point, or I’m going to file a lawsuit.’ ”
He claims she then walked away and “that was it. I never talked to her again. I didn’t go near her.”
Mr. Fischer said Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center did nothing to help him when, he claims, his own children were abducted in 2009 and were “stuck in a trailer with a pedophile.”
He believes the group has an “anti-male bias” and that fathers are not given equal treatment in child abduction cases.
As of Tuesday, Ms. Ahearn had not yet returned a call from the News-Review seeking comment on Mr. Fischer’s accusations.
The issue of the Oct. 6 incident arose last week after Mr. Fischer took part in an editorial interview with the News-Review, which was “live-blogged” over the paper’s website. Reader and local political blogger Terri Scofield posted a comment on the site asking about Mr. Fischer’s recent arrest.
After the meeting with the News-Review, Mr. Fischer noticed the comment and contacted the newspaper, initially claiming he was not arrested and that Ms. Scofield “stalks” him.
When told that the case was listed on the District Court’s online calendar, he insisted the charges were “political” and that Parents for Megan’s Law “is trying to keep me out of the Legislature so I do not testify further against them” about reducing their funding.
When later asked for a response to Mr. Fischer’s stalking allegations, Ms. Scofield said the candidate is just “annoyed” that she’s been asking questions about how he was able to contribute over $3,700 to his supervisor campaign, according to elections records, while at the same time “he applied for — and was granted — indigent status and a Legal Aid attorney.”
“This recent arrest for following and harassing Ms. Ahearn makes it clear who the real stalker is,” Ms. Scofield said.
Suffolk County Police declined to release information about the recent Fischer case when contacted by the News-Review last week.
Mr. Clifford said Friday morning that the complaint against Mr. Fischer appeared to be sealed, and that he had not been arraigned yet. By Friday night, however, he had provided the News-Review with the foregoing information about the arrest and arraignment.