Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson
ASOTIN — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that former Asotin County Superior Court judge Scott Gallina has pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with sexual motivation — one count in the third degree and one in the fourth degree — in the wake of 2019 allegations that the former judge sexually assaulted two court employees. The plea deal, offered with the support of the victims, avoids a trial against the former judge.
As a result of the plea, Gallina faces 13 to 27 months in prison and must register as a sex offender on his release for 10 years. A judge will determine the prison sentence at a sentencing hearing to be scheduled. Gallina will also face 36 months of community custody upon his release and is barred from contacting the victims for at least two years.
“This case represents a grotesque abuse of power by a public official,” Ferguson said. “It also represents a betrayal of trust, not only to Scott Gallina’s victims but to the public he was supposed to serve. His victims’ remarkable courage made this outcome possible. I am grateful for their support of this resolution, which will spare them of having to recount their assaults at trial. We will argue for the maximum penalty allowed under his guilty plea.”
The trial for Gallina was set to begin today in Asotin. At trial, Gallina faced charges of second-degree rape and indecent liberties in addition to charges of assault with sexual motivation.
Spokane County Judge Michael Price set a hearing for June 16 to determine Gallina’s sentence. Under the plea agreement, Gallina cannot be sentenced to less than 13 months in prison. The Attorney General’s Office will argue for a maximum sentence of 27 months.
Gallina was arrested in April of 2019 at the Asotin County Courthouse on suspicion of second-degree rape second-degree assault and indecent liberties involving two female court employees.
According to charging documents, some of the alleged incidents occurred as far back as 2014, when Gallina was first appointed to be the Superior Court judge for Asotin, Columbia, and Garfield counties. The victims reported several instances of sexual assault. The victims and multiple women in the courthouse also reported the conduct to investigators ranging from inappropriate sexual comments to unsolicited and non-consensual shoulder rubs.
Gallina was arrested by the Washington State Patrol on April 10, 2019.
Gallina did not run for re-election in 2020.
The Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case at the request of the Asotin County Prosecutor. Under state law and the Washington State Constitution, the Attorney General’s Office cannot investigate or prosecute a criminal violation without receiving and accepting a referral from a county prosecutor or the governor. Without accepting a referral, the Attorney General’s Office has no jurisdiction over criminal matters.
Senior Counsel Melanie Tratnik and Assistant Attorney General Sean Waite handled the case for the Attorney General’s Office.