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Gallagher’s victim files suit against ex-politician

A 52-year-old Middle Village woman whom Dennis Gallagher admitted to sexually abusing before stepping down from his City Council seat earlier this year has filed a civil suit against the former councilman, according to court papers.

Gallagher resigned in late April as part of a plea deal that kept him out of prison and off the sex offender's registry following his arrest last summer for sexually abusing the woman. The councilman had met the woman at a Middle Village bar and taken her back to his Metropolitan Avenue district office, where the incident took place.

Gallagher had originally been charged with rape, but pleaded to sexual abuse, a lesser charge, in exchange for his resignation.

The victim's suit, which was filed in Queens Supreme Court, was filed on the grounds that she suffered physical, emotional and mental injuries during the incident, according to court papers. The suit, which is seeking unspecified damages, also alleges false imprisonment and that the victim and her husband were forced to pay medical expenses following the incident.

Councilman Anthony Como (R-Middle Village), who replaced Gallagher in a June 3 special election, was officially sworn into office last week and was placed on five committees within the legislative body, including aging, environmental protection, public safety, waterfronts and youth services.

"I am pleased that I was placed on committees relating to seniors, the environment, public safety and youth services because these particular areas are extremely important to my district," Como said.

Como will hold the seat through the end of the year. A second election will be held in November to determine who will fill the seat in 2009 and a third election will take place in November of that year. The same winner of the next two elections may run for one more four-year term in 2011.

Como said he has already been gathering petition signatures for this fall's upcoming election.

The city's Campaign Finance Board said Tuesday that three of the candidates - Republicans Como and Thomas Ognibene and Democrat Elizabeth Crowley - who ran in the District 30 special election to replace Gallagher had filed their financial disclosures from the race as of Monday night.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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