Last Updated: 7/13/2020
A former Bethpage High School teacher who was charged with sexually assaulting a student in June has been arrested a second time for allegedly sexually assaulting the same student on a class trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
28-year-old Joseph A. Gallagher was arrested on September 27 on charges of institutional sexual assault, intercourse/sexual contact with a student, unlawful contact with a minor, disseminating explicit sexual material to a minor, unlawful contact with a minor related to obscene and other sexual materials and performances, corruption of minors, and criminal use of a communication facility. Those charges have been filed in Pennsylvania.
Gallagher is accused of sexually assaulting a student at the Sheraton Hotel in Harrisburg, PA on May 17 and 18 during a class trip to Hershey.
Nassau County police first arrested Gallagher on June 19 and charged him with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and acting in a manner injurious to a child for allegedly exchanging sexual text messages with the same student. He was fired from his position as a choir teacher with Bethpage High School on June 22.
Gallagher has waived his preliminary hearing and is scheduled to appear in Dauphin County court on November 8.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits against sexual predators and negligent third parties. Here is Brian with some thoughts on the legal rights of teacher sexual abuse victims and their families:
"Schools and other workplaces where adults work with children must be on guard against the threat of sexual predators. These predators often seek out positions in fields that involve working with children. Our attorneys regularly see this in cases involving teachers who have sexually assaulted their students.
When a teacher is arrested for sexually assaulting a student, the investigation should cover both the teacher and the school itself. The police will handle the investigation of the teacher, while sexual abuse attorneys can look into the school and determine if negligence by the school is partially to blame for allowing the assault to occur."
In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school. For example, a school could be considered negligent if they had failed to report or investigate previous allegations of sexual misconduct involving the teacher.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a teacher or another school employee, you can learn more about your family’s legal rights by speaking with an experienced sexual assault victims lawyer.