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Cops: Bethpage High School teacher charged with sex abuse

Joseph Gallagher of Smithtown.

Joseph Gallagher of Smithtown. Credit: NCPD

A teacher at Bethpage High School is facing sexual abuse charges for engaging in sexual contact with a juvenile female student, Nassau County police said.

Joseph Gallagher, 28, of Smithtown, a choir teacher at the school, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. 

The school was notified of a possible incident and contacted police, authorities said.

Gallagher was arrested Wednesday without incident by detectives from Nassau's Special Victims Squad.

He was arraigned Wednesday at First District Court, Hempstead and held on $7,500 cash or $15,000 bond. District Court Judge Scott Siller also ordered Gallagher to stay away from the victim, court records show. Gallagher is due back in court July 12.

Bruce Barket of Garden City, Gallagher's defense attorney, said his client is married with a young child.

"He's a good young man from a good family," Barket said Friday night. "We will vigorously defend the allegations in court."

It was not immediately clear if Gallagher had been terminated by the school district. Bethpage High School hosts its prom Friday night and its graduation ceremony Saturday.

The Special Victims Squad is asking anyone who may have been a victim of Gallagher, or has any information about the case, to contact 516-573-4022 or Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

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