Former judge faces prison time after pleading guilty to sexual assault of 2 court employees
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A former judge in Washington, who was accused of sexually assaulting two former court employees, agreed to a plea deal as his trial was set to begin Monday.
Former Judge Scott Gallina of Asotin County, Washington, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with sexual motivation—one count in the third degree and one in the fourth degree, according to an April 4 press release by the Washington attorney general’s office.
The charges relate to two female former court employees who reported several instances of sexual assault, according to the attorney general’s press release. One of the women said Gallina groped her, bit her breast and put her in a choke hold while he penetrated her through her underwear with his fingers, according to a probable cause statement at the time of Gallina’s arrest in 2019.
The two accusers were among multiple women who accused Gallina of inappropriate conduct that included unwanted touching and inappropriate comments. Some women said they had adopted a buddy system, so that no one would be alone when going into his chambers, according to the probable cause statement.
As a result of the guilty plea, Gallina faces 13 to 27 months in prison. He also must register as a sex offender for 10 years after his release.
Gallina’s lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, told the Lewiston Tribune that his client wanted to clear his name at trial, but he made an appropriate decision in light of the risks.
“Although he denies that conduct, this allows him to enter pleas to some simple assaults, and after he gets out, he will be able to get on with his life,” Oreskovich told the publication.
“It’s a harsh consequence without an opportunity to clear his name, and he really was torn, but at the same time, we have to be realists. We worked hard on the case and were prepared for trial, when a different side would’ve come out,” Oreskovich added.