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Asotin judge charged after years of alleged assaults, harassment

Superior Court Judge Scott D. Gallina. (Asotin County Superior Court)

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed charges against Asotin County Superior Court Judge Scott D. Gallina.

Gallina faces three charges: second degree rape; indecent liberties (by forcible compulsion); and fourth degree assault with sexual motivation.

Gallina was arrested at the Asotin County Courthouse by Washington state troopers on April 10. He is being held on $50,000 bail. A sexual assault protective order has been issued for one survivor. Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to call investigators with the Washington State Patrol at 509-249-6743.

Asotin County Courthouse

Court documents describe a work environment at the Asotin County Courthouse where female personnel were routinely subjected to harassment, groping, lewd comments, and assaults by Judge Gallina. Reports date back to 2014 when he was first appointed.

A total of nine women were involved in an initial internal investigation that uncovered a safety plan at the courthouse. Women organized a system to ensure that no woman was left alone with Gallina. The women reported that they feared for their safety because of the judge’s authority.

The results of the internal investigation was handed over to the Asotin County Sheriff’s Office, which in turn, handed the case over to Washington State Patrol. Court documents state “it was additionally noted from the interviews that the victims had difficulty determining exact dates of many incidents involving Mr. Galina due to the high number of incidents reported to have occurred since Mr. Gallina became the judge in Asotin County.”

One woman told investigators “she thought she made an online report to a judicial oversight entity, but nothing ever happened,” according to court documents.

First witness

One court employee’s account covers May 2017 to the present. She says incidents often occurred while the court was on break. They allege Judge Gallina often called her into his chambers and locked the door.

Her encounters with the judge include him allegedly taking off her clothes, sometimes tearing them. He reportedly would grope parts of her body, kiss her, and compliment her breasts and clothing. The woman also reported that Gallina would force her over his desk or up against a wall and “grind” on her. She reported one incident when Gallina bit her, drawing blood.

He sometimes asked her to have sex with him. She refused, and reported one time when she had to flee a room while he took off his pants.

The woman also reports that in the summer of 2018, during a court recess, Gallina put her in a choke hold while he groped her much more severely than any other time. She recalls her ears ringing and pressure across her face while in the choke hold. Gallina stopped when he heard a knock on the door.

The woman reportedly attempted to talk with the judge about the behavior, but he said he could not help it because he liked beautiful women. She also told investigators that officers or detectives were often right outside the windows of Gallina’s office, but she was too afraid to tell them about the incidents.

Second witness

A second woman also told investigators that she had unwelcome encounters for years with Judge Gallina, including kissing, inappropriate comments, and touching. She reports being physically restrained by the judge.

In September 2018, she wrote a letter to Judge Gallina explaining that his actions were unwelcome, unwanted, and infringed upon her dignity and principles. She ordered him to cease and desist from kissing, groping, and other lewd gestures and comments. Gallina reportedly responded to the letter with a text message stating that he agreed with her, “even though I don’t want to.”

Original article:

A superior court judge in Washington’s Asotin County has been arrested on suspicion of second-degree felony rape, second degree assault, and indecent liberties.

According to the Washington State Patrol, its detectives were asked to investigate Superior Court Judge Scott D. Gallina by the Asotin Sheriff’s Department on March 29, 2019. The investigation was for criminal sexual misconduct.

Asotin County’s prosecutor also asked the state’s attorney general to handle the case. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement Wednesday, saying his office may pursue charges:

Today, Judge Scott Gallina was taken into custody by the Washington State Patrol … I have accepted a request from the Asotin County Prosecutor to handle the case. We are reviewing the investigation and we expect to have a decision on possible criminal charges tomorrow (Thursday, April 11). My office has been and will continue to work closely with the State Patrol to investigate the allegations.

While the AG’s office works the case, Washington State Patrol continues to investigate.

“We encourage anyone with information about this case to come forward,” said Lieutenant Randy Hullinger with the WSP Criminal Investigation Division. “Victims of sexual abuse are often afraid to tell anyone, especially when the accused abuser has a position of power. Victims can sometimes think they themselves did something wrong or they may get in trouble or be embarrassed by revealing what has happened to them. Our detectives understand those concerns and work hard to respect the privacy rights of possible victims and to understand the emotional toll that situations like this bring. Most importantly, in all harmful situations, we work hard to make sure that the abuse stops and those who harm others face appropriate consequences.”

Anyone with additional information about Judge Gallina and the case is asked to contact investigators — Detective Sergeant Greg Tri and Detective Scott Neustel — at 509-249-6743.

Judge Gallina was appointed to his position in 2014 by Gov. Jay Inslee to fill a vacancy. He has since been re-elected twice.

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