A Long Island lawmaker, who is also a well-regarded doctor, was arrested after allegedly trying to trade drugs for sexual favors, according to two senior law enforcement officials.
Dr. William Spencer, a legislator for Suffolk County’s 18th District, faces drug-related charges after his arrest in a parking lot behind a Goodwill store in Elwood Tuesday afternoon, according to law enforcement officials. The Centerport resident was in an official Suffolk County vehicle at the time of his arrest, the senior officials told NBC New York.
He believed he was going to meet a woman with whom he could swap pills for sex, officials said, but it was a sting operation set up by a task force led by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, along with Suffolk and Nassau County police, the sheriff’s office and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The task force was initially tipped off onto Spencer’s alleged behavior after a previous drug investigation, law enforcement officials said.
Numerous attempts to reach Spencer for comment at his home and offices were unsuccessful. The Suffolk County district attorney is planning on releasing more information regarding the arrest at a press conference on Wednesday. The spokesperson for the DA's office did not return calls for comment.
Spencer — an ear, nose and throat specialist who has served in the legislature since 2011 — has been part of an opioid task force during his time in government. He has focused on drug abuse and opioid addiction, keeping things like tobacco, energy drinks and powdered caffeine (a stimulant) away from minors, according to his website. Since 2012, nearly a third of the legislator’s sponsored resolutions have been focused on health and drug abuse.
After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, he worked at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York City. For the past 20 years, Spencer has had his own private practice in Huntington, the Long Island Otolaryngology Airway, P.C. He is also Chief of Otolaryngology at Huntington Hospital and an associate clinical professor at Stony Brook University Hospital. Spencer has been an ordained minister since 1986.