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Snowshoer bailed out, re-arrested, eventually released

Brian Barrett, defense attorney for Tanveer Hussain, comforts him after the Indian snowshoer was released to Richard Shapiro (rear right) and Lindy Ellis (rear left) at the St. Armand Town Hall Friday evening. Hussain was charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl earlier this week. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

SARANAC LAKE — Tanveer Hussain’s bailout from jail Friday was short-lived at first, but a judge ended up releasing him to stay with a Saranac Lake couple until his next court date Tuesday.

The release came with conditions. At the request of Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague, St. Armand town Justice Sheridan Swinyer took Hussain’s passport and visa and said he cannot leave Essex County. But the judge added an exception, at the request of Hussain’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Brian Barrett: Hussain can be at and around the house of Lindy Ellis and Rich Shapiro, the married couple who paid his bail. They live on the Franklin County side of Saranac Lake, a village with a county line running down its middle. All this is until Hussain’s preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Swinyer’s court.

Hussain, 24, of Kashmir, India, has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Police say he kissed a 12-year-old girl and groped her in an intimate area outside her clothes on Monday evening, two days after he competed in the World Snowshoe Championships at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake. Ellis and Shapiro, a Saranac Lake village trustee, were part of the group that organized the Snowshoe Championships

Since Hussain’s arrest and arraignment Wednesday, he was in the Essex County Jail in Lewis until Ellis paid his $5,000 bail Friday afternoon, according to village police Sgt. Casey Reardon.

Reardon said county sheriff’s deputies at the jail notified Swinyer that they were going to release Hussain to Ellis and Shapiro, and the judge subsequently issued a bail review warrant, which allows him to review the case again and potentially revoke Hussain’s bail. Village police received the warrant around 5 p.m., and officers responded to Shapiro and Ellis’ home. When the couple arrived home from the jail with Hussain, police took him back into custody and brought him to their station for processing before bringing him to Swinyer’s court for another bail hearing.

Lindy Ellis, left, and Saranac Lake village Trustee Richard Shapiro leave the St. Armand Town Hall with Tanveer Hussain after the Indian snowshoer was released to them following a bail revision hearing Friday evening. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

“I believe it’s the court’s opinion, and possibly the prosecution’s, that he might be a flight risk,” Reardon said of Hussain, “obviously because of the intensity of the story so far and the fact that he does have a visa here in the U.S. and is expected home soon.”

Shapiro and Ellis declined comment. When a reporter tried to take a picture of Hussain being led out of the police station, Shapiro put his hand up to block the camera.

“Just here to see a friend of mine,” Shapiro said.

Barrett, of Lake Placid, said after the hearing he was content with the terms of Hussain’s release despite the roundabout nature of his bailout, re-arrest and subsequent release, all within a couple of hours.

“I didn’t know it was an issue until I contacted the Essex County district attorney to talk to her about the case,” Barrett said. “She advised me, she said, ‘Did you get my letter?’ I guess she had faxed it, and I didn’t receive it yet.

Saranac Lake police Patrolwoman Reyanin Brown and Sgt. James Joyce (rear) lead Tanveer Hussain into the St. Armand Town Hall for a bail revision hearing Friday evening. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

“We could have worked it out ahead of time, and that would have been fine,” he continued, “but we did this, and we negotiated it, and we just left his passport (and visa) here, which is a reasonable request from the district attorney.”

Saranac Lake no longer has a village court and thus uses the courts of the three towns that converge here. This alleged incident took place in the St. Armand portion of the village, so the case is being heard in that town’s court in Bloomingdale, where Swinyer is the elected judge.

Ellis and Shapiro were there, wearing matching blue World Snowshoe Championships jackets. Barrett comforted Hussain as the snowshoer choked up with emotion while leaving the courtroom.

“He’s innocent until proven guilty,” Barrett said, “and Mr. Shapiro is affording him the presumption of innocence, just like we’re asked to do. And nobody should have assumed differently in this case.

“This is just another case,” Barrett added. “That’s it.”

As an additional bail condition, Swinyer issued an order of protection barring Hussain from contact with the alleged victim. Barrett told Hussain that if he is friends with the girl on Facebook, he should cut those ties. Hussain’s cellphone had previously been taken as evidence, police Sgt. James Joyce said at the hearing Friday.

Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight contributed to this report.

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