Political activist Don Hassig of Colton says his arrest on charges of stalking the county’s public health director is due to his outspokenness on environmental pollution.
St. Lawrence County sheriff's deputies said Hassig was investigated following complaints that he "has engaged in a continuing course of conduct against St. Lawrence County Public Health Department Director Dr. Susan Hathaway dating back to 2010."
Deputies say he was charged Wednesday morning with fourth-degree stalking of Hathaway, based on the complaint.
“She accuses me of this because I have spoken the Truth in public places, accusing her of speaking falsely on the subject of the industrial contaminant exposure health hazard constituted by persistent organic pollutants (POPs) contamination of the animal fat portion of the mainstream food supply,” Hassig said in an email message to the media.
Hassig, founder of Cancer Action NY and Green Party candidate for Congress in this week’s election, has staged high profile demonstrations on the POPs issue for years, including during the campaign, which resulted in several arrests for trespassing and other charges.
He accused Hathaway with targeting him to discredit him.
“Dr. Hathaway is attempting to cause others in our region to look upon me with disfavor. She is doing this to avoid the issue of her failure to warn the public of the POPs exposure health hazard and her deceptive statements concerning this matter,” Hassig said.
He is now under a court order to have no contact with Hathaway and to stay away from the county Human Services Building, where her office is.
This is in addition to a previous court order prohibiting him from entering the county courthouse, where he was accused of harassing County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire.
He was upbraided by the state Green Party for his behavior which came to a head when he was accused of making insensitive comments about migrant workers at a candidate’s forum during he campaign. They publicly withdrew whatever support for him they might have had.
Hassig’s core complaint is that public officials are bending to the will of corporations that don’t want people to know about damage to human health from POPs in the environment and in food. He sees his arrests and court orders as limits on his freedom of speech.
“Nothing will stop me from speaking this Truth,” Hassig said.