A former juvenile detention center worker was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation Friday for sexually assaulting a female inmate last year.
John R. Gallagher, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree sexual assault in August, in exchange for the prosecution dropping a second criminal charge. According to court documents, Gallagher asked a female inmate, who was no older than 16, to show him her breast while she was in her cell. After she lifted her shirt, he reached through the bars and touched it.
Prosecutor Dan Itzen asked Judge Thomas Sullins to send Gallagher to prison for three to five years for the assault, saying that Gallagher was in a position of authority over the victim. He added that the county criminal justice system doesn’t send people to that facility “to be abused.”
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Don Fuller, Gallagher’s attorney, acknowledged that his client was in a position of authority but argued that he didn’t use his authority to have the woman lift her shirt. He asked Sullins to sentence Gallagher, who will register as a sex offender, to five years of probation.
Fuller said Gallagher was not a predator and that his actions were “highly regrettable.”
Sullins settled on a split-sentence: six months in the county jail, with five years of probation, with a suspended prison sentence of eight to 12 years.