Special election set for council seat

April 18, 2008 1:00:03 PM PDT
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday scheduled a special election June 3 to fill an open City Council seat vacated by a lawmaker who stepped down after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a woman he met at a bar in his Queens district. The election will be held to fill the remainder of Republican Dennis Gallagher's term, which expires at the end of this year. The seat will be up for election again this November.

Gallagher pleaded guilty last month to forcible touching and sex abuse, both misdemeanor offenses, and did not have to serve any time because he resigned his council seat. He also agreed to complete an alcohol treatment program.

Gallagher was elected to the council in 2001 and was one of three Republicans in the 51-member body.

The plea deal was reached after an indictment accusing the councilman of rape and assault was dismissed in January by a judge who said that prosecutors asked Gallagher improper questions before the grand jury.

Gallagher had acknowledged the encounter with his accuser, but said it was consensual. The accuser told authorities that he offered to drive her home after meeting her in the bar, but instead took her to his district office and attacked her.