Sometimes criminal records can hint at a person’s character and the expectations one would have of them, and sometimes they only indicate the youthful behavior of a distant path. Sometimes, in between, there’s a grey area that’s just a bit strange. Such is the case of Scranton school board candidate Adam Swieciaszek, who has some unusual court documentation backing up his recently revealed criminal past.
Swieciaszek will appear on a ballot for one of the school board positions on May 19th. As happens with just about anyone running for public office, requests for public records are filed, and accusations fly. Undeniable, is the fact that Swieciaszek does have a criminal past with several varied charges.
The charges started back in 2006, when his ex-wife received a letter from Ebay about debts under her son’s name. After some investigating, police would trace the account back to the child’s father, Swieciaszek, who had opened an account under his son’s name after his own had been closed down due to its own unpaid charges owed. Swieciaszek was charged with identity theft, improper use of a computer, and more, though was eventually just charged with theft as the other charges were dropped. He was to serve six months’ probation, but encountered more trouble with the law and eventually was confined to house arrest.
In another incident, while in a police station holding cell that holds drunk people, Swieciaszek referred to himself as “Adam Bin Laden” and began taking credit for the 9/11 attacks, among other ramblings.
On a drunken night in 2008, Swieciaszek’s girlfriend called the police fearing he may be waiting for her at her home after an argument at a party. When police found him parked in his car nearby, he tried to drunkenly order his dog to attack the police officer. The officer warned Swieciaszek that if his dog was let out of the car, the officer would have to release his police dog as well. Eventually, Swieciaszek submitted to being arrested, leading to a long court process and the eventual setup of a repayment plan, which he ignored until a judge threatened to revoke his probation. If that weren’t enough, subsequent charges in 2009 and 2013 saw Swieciaszek in trouble with the law for more crimes, involving guns, axes, destruction of property, threatening the life of another man in his neighborhood and more.
That said, nothing in Pennsylvania state law states that someone with a criminal past can’t run for office. In fact, the only restrictions on holding public office are that a candidate has not committed “infamous crimes.” The vague term was later determined by the state supreme court to refer to felonies and certain high-level misdemeanors, none of which make up Swieciaszek’s patchwork quilt of past charges.
Swieciaszek has refused to respond to specific questions regarding the charges, instead stating that he is open with voters and speaks with them all the time. In truth, there is the possibility that he plans to do something about his disdain for American society by attempting to change it for the better, but that remains to be seen.