WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A former Connecticut mayor who is serving a 37-year sentence in a South Carolina prison for child sexual abuse is asking to be released early because of the health risks he faces from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philip A. Giordano, the former mayor of Waterbury, as well as a former attorney and a one-time Republican U.S. Senate candidate, filed a handwritten petition in federal court asking for “compassionate release," as well as the appointment of a lawyer, the Hartford Courant reported on Tuesday. Giordano is not set to be released until 2033.

The 57-year-old Giordano wrote that he has “extraordinary and compelling” reasons to be released, citing the spread of COVID-19 in the federal prison system and at the medium security facility where he's being confined in Bennettsville, S.C. Giordano said eight inmates in his unit have been infected and he claimed the prison ventilation system created a “petri dish effect” for his unit.

On Wednesday, however, the Federal Bureau of Prisons website listed no current, positive COVID-19 cases among the 1,229 inmates at the facility. It reported that seven inmates have recovered and none have died. Among staff, seven are currently listed as having tested positive, while five have recovered and none have died.

Giordano, who also said he suffers from chronic spinal pain, was convicted in 2003 of sexually abusing the 9- and 11-year-old daughter and niece of a prostitute girlfriend, who was addicted to drugs, in his city hall office. He was charged after FBI agents overheard the assaults while conducting surveillance for a separate corruption investigation.