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John Gallagher

John Gallagher

A former juvenile detention center worker has been accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate at the facility.

Prosecutors allege that John R. Gallagher, who worked at Natrona County’s Regional Juvenile Detention Center, asked an inmate to show him her breast while she was in her cell. When she did so, Gallagher reached through the bars and grabbed it, according to court documents.

Court documents do not list the girl’s exact age at the time of the assault but indicate she was no older than 16.

Gallagher, 31, pleaded not guilty Friday in Natrona County District Court to two felonies: second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual assault.

Gallagher is also alleged to have unzipped his pants in front of the girl, though she told a Natrona County sheriff’s investigator that he did not expose himself to her.

Another inmate told the investigator that Gallagher would frequently wink at her, and on at least one occasion, told her she was beautiful, according to the documents.

The documents state that Gallagher admitted to touching the girl’s breast in an interview with the sheriff’s investigator.

The detention center is operated by Cornerstone Programs, a private Colorado company. The facility holds up to 28 inmates at once.

Gallagher remained free on bond Friday. His attorney, Don Fuller, declined comment other than to say, “we’re preparing for trial.”

Cornerstone Programs could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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