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Investigation into Mayor McCarthy incident continues

Investigation into Mayor McCarthy incident continues

The investigation into what happened during a May incident involving Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy
Investigation into Mayor McCarthy incident continues
Outside his office in City Hall on May 26, Mayor Gary McCarthy is asked questions about an incident that took place with Sarah Dingley. Dingley reported that an 'elderly white male' who 'looked rich' was chasing her and her friend and flashing his ligh...
Photographer: Marc Schultz

The investigation into what happened during a May incident involving Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy continued Tuesday, four months after the incident and more than three months after a special prosecutor began investigating.

The appointed special prosecutor, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen, declined to comment on the investigation or its progress when asked Tuesday.

She also declined to say when she expects it to conclude, saying it will “take as long as it takes.”

State Supreme Court Justice Vito Caruso appointed Heggen in early June to investigate the May 19 incident involving McCarthy.

Heggen has “all power and authority to assist in the investigation of and to prosecute and dispose of or to designate one of her assistants to prosecute and dispose of any criminal or vehicle and traffic charges that may result therefrom,” the June 4 order signed by Caruso states.

McCarthy, a Democrat re-elected for a second term in November, followed a motorist and her friend through the city streets in a bizarre, middle-of-the-night pursuit that ended at police headquarters. The woman says McCarthy was drunk and intimidating while McCarthy says she was in the wrong.

Heggen, a Republican, started work as district attorney in Saratoga County in December 2014. She succeeded James Murphy III, who is now a County Court judge. Heggen has worked in the district attorney’s office since 1993.

In the May 19 incident, McCarthy followed Sarah Dingley, 38, of Rotterdam, and her friend in their vehicle from Lexington Avenue, where the mayor lives, to Schenectady Police Headquarters on Liberty Street.

Listen to the call

Sarah Dingley's 911 call

Dingley called 9-1-1 shortly after 1 a.m. reporting that a man, who identified himself as the mayor, was following her and flashing his lights and that he was intoxicated. Dingley said she was driving home from a friend’s house on Nott Street before she spotted McCarthy following her.

McCarthy said he was taking out the garbage when he saw Dingley and her friend either picking up garbage, breaking into cars or doing drugs. McCarthy said he was not intoxicated.

Schenectady police questioned McCarthy and the two women separately after they arrived at the station. Details of their discussions have remained unclear. Police have declined comment. No charges were filed, there is no police report and a Breathalyzer test was not given.

The probe by Heggen’s office will investigate the actions of McCarthy, Dingley and the Schenectady police officers. Details of the investigation are unclear at this time.

The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office is not involved in the investigation. McCarthy worked as an investigator alongside District Attorney Robert Carney for more than 20 years.

Caruso appointed Haggen after a letter from Councilman Vince Riggi called for an outside investigation. Carney sent that letter, along with a Daily Gazette article and editorial, to Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Michael Coccoma.

Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, [email protected] or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.

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