Queens Councilman Dennis Gallagher was arraigned yesterday on charges that he raped a 52-year-old woman in his district office. Gallagher maintains that the sex he had with the woman after a night of heavy drinking was consensual. The councilman faces ten criminal counts, including rape, assault, and sex charges, and could face up to 25 years in prison if found guilty. He was released after his arraignment on bail of $200,000. Gallagher's office was raided by police in July searching for DNA evidence of a sexual assault. He provided a DNA sample shortly thereafter to police.
The New York Times describes the political fallout of the rape charges. Gallagher was forced to resign his position as minority whip in the City Council. The whip is the second-highest ranking position among Republican councilmembers, of which there are three in the 51-member legislative body. Gallagher is also stepping down from several committees he is assigned to, including those dealing with the aging, finance, and parks and recreation.
The New York Post highlights the fact that his wife presented herself in solidarity with the man who admits to cheating on her. He was led into the courtroom in handcuffs, but left holding the hand of his wife Donna. The pair have two teen-aged sons. The Post writes that Donna and Dennis Gallagher have long had a troubled relationship, but that she was sticking by him for the sake of his career and their kids.