Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer took to Facebook on Friday night to explain his job offer to Lindsay Henry, a former town councilman accused of beating his girlfriend.
“ ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ is the foundation of our judicial system,” Schaffer wrote in the post, which came a day after local congressional candidates called on the town to fire Henry, a part-time assistant town attorney.
“If Mr. Henry is convicted, I will personally ensure that he is terminated from Town employment,” Schaffer wrote.
Town spokesman Kevin Bonner confirmed Schaffer wrote the statement and posted it to Facebook.
The post had amassed hundreds of comments by Saturday. Many were supportive of the supervisor; others criticized the job offer.
Henry, 55, pleaded not guilty in September to the misdemeanor assault charge. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, online court records show. The former councilman did not respond Saturday to a request for comment.
Schaffer noted his record of fighting domestic violence, which he called “completely abhorrent,” citing legislation he has backed supporting women’s advocacy groups and toughening police policies on the issue.
The supervisor did not respond Saturday to several requests for comment.
The post came a day after Liuba Grechen Shirley, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) in November, delivered a letter to Babylon Town Hall calling on the town to fire Henry in light of his domestic assault charge.
Schaffer wrote that Grechen Shirley was seeking to serve “as the sole judge and jury” in “the court of public opinion.” The candidate did not contact him to discuss the issue personally, he said.
Grechen Shirley said Saturday in response: “I stand with victims’ advocates and community members who have expressed disappointment at the hiring of a man facing serious domestic assault charges.”
Schaffer did not address in his post the criticism of Henry’s hiring by DuWayne Gregory (D-Copiague), the presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, who is also running for King’s seat and who said he would sign Grechen Shirley’s letter.