Suffolk County

NY Lawmaker Accused of Trading Drugs for Sex Slapped With More Felony Charges

Dr. William "Doc" Spencer was arraigned on a nine-count indictment more than a year after his initial arrest on charges related to swapping drugs for sex

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The New York lawmaker who made headlines last year for allegedly trading opioids for sex was arraigned on Monday for a nine-count indictment, seven of the charges being felonies.

Dr. William "Doc" Spencer, a legislator for Suffolk County’s 18th District and physician, stepped down from his position as Majority Leader of the Legislature’s Democratic caucus last fall following his arrest as a result of a sting operation that stemmed from a previous major drug investigation on Long Island.

The indictment handed down Monday charges Spencer with nine counts, seven of which are felonies, partially linked to his Oct. 20 arrest where he's accused of trying to swap drugs for sex. New charges relate to allegedly hiring a sex worker in Nov. 2019 and lying about the incident to authorities months later in official documents.

Spencer, of Centerport, was charged last fall with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

A joint task force of county and federal officials on Long Island were tipped off to Spencer's alleged behavior, leading to the October meeting with the Centerport lawmaker. He was arrested the afternoon of the 28th in a parking lot behind a Goodwill store in Elwood.

According to prosecutors at the time, Spencer sent a text to a woman, who he believed to be a sex worker, and who he thought he was meeting up with to swap Oxycodone pills for sex. Authorities believed the woman to be a sex worker and she was recruited to help them with the sting.

Authorities found him in his state vehicle parked behind a strip mall in Elwood, according to officials. Inside the car was lubricant, condoms and a loaded pistol for which he has a permit.

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. NBC New York's Jonathan Dienst reports.

"Obviously, it's extremely disturbing for an individual to be engaging in this type of behavior who is a sitting county legislator as well as a medical doctor -- someone who has spoken about drug prevention and substance abuse disorders. Obviously, that is very troubling," Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said outside the court.

Prosecutors at the time said they were investigating additional possible crimes allegedly committed by Spencer. Contact information for the lawmaker's attorney was not immediately known.

Spencer made fighting substance abuse one of this top priorities. He was elected to serve in the legislature since 2011 and has been part of an opioid task force during his time in government.

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Rob Calarco called the allegations last year troubling, but said there is no law that requires a legislator to resign while charges are still pending.

"There is nothing in the law that requires a legislator to resign while charges are pending, and while the allegations against Legislator Spencer are serious, he is entitled to his day in court," Calarco said in his statement.

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