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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ex-judge pleads guilty to sexual assaults at courthouse

Associated Press

ASOTIN, Wash. — A former judge in southeastern Washington state faces 13 to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to allegations that he sexually assaulted two former court employees over several years.

Scott D. Gallina, the former Superior Court judge for Asotin, Garfield and Columbia counties, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of assault with sexual motivation, one in the third-degree and one in the fourth-degree, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

The plea deal, which Ferguson said the victims supported, came as jury selection began in Gallina’s trial on more serious charges, including second-degree rape.

The Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case at the request of the Asotin County prosecutor.

“This case represents a grotesque abuse of power by a public official,” Ferguson said. “It also represents a betrayal of trust, not only to Scott Gallina’s victims, but to the public he was supposed to serve. His victims’ remarkable courage made this outcome possible.”

The Washington State Patrol arrested Gallina in April 2019 at the Asotin County Courthouse on suspicion of raping and assaulting two female court employees as far back as 2014, soon after he was appointed to the bench.

The victims reported several instances of sexual assault, according to charging documents, and multiple women in the courthouse said Gallina also made inappropriate sexual comments or gave unwelcome shoulder rubs.

His trial was repeatedly delayed by the pandemic and by efforts to find a judge to hear the case.

As a result of the plea, Gallina must register as a sex offender for 10 years following his release from prison.

Gallina, 58, is due to be sentenced June 16. He did not seek re-election following his arrest.