DA: Suffolk County Legislator arrested for attempting to trade drugs for sex

A Suffolk County Legislator was arrested Tuesday after he attempted to trade prescription opioids for sexual favors with an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini announced Wednesday.

Dr. William Spencer, 53, of Centerport was contacted through a text message earlier Tuesday by the undercover officer as part of an investigation by the D.A.’s office and the DEA’s Long Island Heroin Task Force. He allegedly agreed via text message to provide the undercover police officer with oxycodone pills, the D.A.’s office said.

Dr. Spencer, a physician and Democrat who has served on the Legislature since 2012, was arrested at the arranged meeting location in his County-issued vehicle and was found in possession of two oxycodone pills.

Dr. Spencer was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, both felonies. If convicted on the top charge, he’d face nine years in prison.

“The message here is that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office will continue to work in partnership with all of the law enforcement agencies operating here on Long Island, including the DEA and members of the Long Island Heroin Task Force, to hold criminals accountable no matter who they are or what their walk of life is,” Mr. Sini said in a statement. “This investigation is very much ongoing, and justice will be served in this case.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said “opioid use is on the rise again.”

“And law enforcement is hard at work tracking down those who fuel drug addiction through distribution,” he said in a statement.

Democratic partly leader Rob Calarco, the Legislature’s presiding officer, called the allegations “extremely serious.”

“We have very little information, and at this time, I will not be making any further statement,” he said in a press release. “Our thoughts are with his wife and children during this difficult time.”

Suffolk County Republicans, meanwhile, are calling for the Legislator’s immediate resignation.

GOP chairman Jesse Garcia called the incident “sad and an astounding betrayal of trust.”
“This is a violation of Legislator Doc Spencer’s oath as a doctor and elected official, in his capacity as a member of a drug and opioid task force and as Majority Leader of the County Legislature,” Mr. Garcia said in a statement. “This alleged act was an attempt to abuse his position of power and trust, prey on women, and take advantage of those he believed were prisoners of addiction.  His legislative record of sponsoring dozens of resolutions focusing on health and drug abuse make this alleged drug-for-sex trade all the more evil, because he clearly knew the consequences of his behavior on his intended victim.”

“Without question he should resign,” Mr. Garcia added.

Dr. Spencer represents Suffolk County’s 18th Legislative District in Huntington Town. He is also a physician who had served as the chief of otolaryngology at Huntington Hospital and has his own private medical practice in that town, the D.A.’s office said. He was suspended by the hospital Wednesday, a D.A. spokesperson confirmed.

Dr. Spencer was arraigned by Acting Suffolk County Court Judge Pierce Cohalan and was released on his own recognizance. He was ordered to surrender his passport and any firearms in his possession. He is due back in court Feb. 26.