North Hempstead clerk candidate arrested on forcible touching charges

Joseph Wood, 73, of Mineola, has been arrested

Joseph Wood, 73, of Mineola, has been arrested and charged with two counts of forcible touching, police said. Wood, who is running for North Hempstead town clerk, was ordered conditionally released on probation and is due back in court Nov. 25. (Oct. 26, 2013) (Credit: NCPD)

A Mineola man running for North Hempstead town clerk on the Conservative Party line was arrested Saturday after Nassau County police said he forcibly touched two men in a sexual manner at a sober house where he is a counselor.

Police said Joseph Wood, 73, of Jackson Avenue, was alone at the Uniondale sober home with each victim, ages 21 and 31, on Sept. 27 and Oct. 6. On each occasion, he hugged the victim, then forcibly touched him sexually, police said.

Police arrested Wood at 12:20 a.m. and charged him with two counts of forcible touching. At his arraignment on Saturday at First District Court in Mineola, Wood was ordered conditionally released to probation. He is due back in court Nov. 25.

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A man and a woman who answered the phone at Wood's home said they had no comment.

Wood joined the race for town clerk in July after getting enough petitions to run on the Conservative line.

Daniel F. Donovan Jr., the Nassau County Conservative Party chairman, said his party never endorsed Wood and that he never met the man.

"He's not one of our designated candidates," Donovan said, adding that the arrest was "an embarrassment to anybody that was involved in getting him on our line."

Also running are Town Clerk Leslie Gross, a Democrat running as a Republican, and Wayne Wink, a Democrat whose county legislative seat was redistricted.

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