Sunday, August 5th 2007, NY Daily News
City Councilman Dennis Gallagher of Queens has been charged with rape and sexual assault in a 10-count indictment that likely contains the most serious criminal charges ever lodged against a member of the municipal legislature. He should resign forthwith. Facing up to 25 years in prison, Gallagher will be consumed by defending himself. He won't be able to represent his constituents effectively, and where he goes, disgrace will follow.
Gallagher's accuser is a 52-year-old woman who met him in a Middle Village tavern and wound up in his office, where, she says, he brutalized her. He says the sex that left the woman bruised and torn was consensual, that he is guilty only of adultery. There, he is wrong. At best, Gallagher lacks mature judgment; at worst, he is a violent sexual predator. Either way, he cannot do the job he was elected to do.
Hours after the indictment Friday, Gallagher, a Republican, voluntarily surrendered his special perks of office, including his $5,000 annual bonus, or lulu, his membership on six committees and his position on the Council's budget negotiating team.
That's how it should be. Get indicted, lose your leadership posts. Now, Democratic Speaker Christine Quinn and Republican Minority Leader Jim Oddo must rewrite the rules so members automatically lose privileges on indictment.
The council's standards and ethics committee is holding a closed-door meeting today to discuss the charges against Mr. Gallagher.
One committee member, Council Member Eric Gioia of Queens, said it would be appropriate to hold off on a council investigation until the Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, completes his own.
Lawmaker in Rape Case Under Pressure To Resign
A council member of Queens, Tony Avella... said Mr. Gallagher should resign.
"If he really believes he is innocent, then he should be devoting his full time to his defense," he said. "He is not going to be able to devote himself full time to his constituency."