Amherst Council Member Richard “Jay” Anderson on Monday was given a conditional dismissal of the harassment charge levied against him in December.
Buffalo City Court Judge Joseph A. Fiorella gave Anderson a six-month “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal” for a second-degree harassment violation in which Anderson was accused of spitting on the grandmother of two of his stepchildren.
“All the parties involved agreed to a dismissal,” said Anderson, 35.
“This does it in a way that further protects my family and my children from being exposed to the hardship that I’ve incurred.”
He also restated that he did not spit on anyone and that the incident that led to his harassment charge was “fabricated to hurt my family.”
“Once the accusation is made, nobody can make my family whole,” he said. “For somebody who serves his community, serves his family, serves his country and has never done anything offensive to anybody, this has just been painful.”
Anderson and his wife attended the Middle School Winter Concert at Nichols School on Dec. 19, an event that his wife’s ex-husband also attended, along with the ex-husband’s mother, Loretta Fitzpatrick.
According to a complaint filed two days later, Fitzpatrick, 71, stated that while she was walking out of the school, Anderson spit on her, “then laughed and walked away.”
Anderson made no admission of guilt and faces no penalties as part of the carefully worded conditional discharge arrangement, said his attorney, Anthony Lana.
The case will be administratively dismissed as long as Anderson remains out of trouble for the next six months.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was granted a six-month “non-offensive order of protection,” which does not prohibit contact between her and Anderson but would result in stiffer penalties for Anderson if he engages in offensive conduct and behaves in an abusive manner toward her.
Fitzpatrick originally requested an order that would have prohibited Anderson from contacting her in any way.
Lana said Anderson’s wife is engaged in a child custody battle with her ex-husband and that a conviction against Anderson would likely have aided her ex-husband’s cause.
“There may be other things at play here,” Lana said. He also said there were no supporting witness statements to the events described by Fitzpatrick.
Anderson, a U.S. Navy Reservist, was elected to his Town Board seat in November 2009. He will reach the end of his first four-year term in December. He said Monday that he looks forward to continuing to be a leader in the community.