The Bethpage school district announced Saturday that a teacher who is accused of engaging in sexual contact with a juvenile female student, has been fired.
Joseph Gallagher, 28, of Smithtown, a choir teacher at Bethpage High 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.
"The staff member is no longer employed by the district. The health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority," district officials said in a statement Saturday. "We immediately reported the incident to the local authorities and have been fully cooperating with them regarding this issue."
Gallagher 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 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."
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.
— With John Asbury