William "Doc" Spencer, the Democratic Majority Leader of the Suffolk Legislature, was arrested last Wednesday after he was caught trading illegal opioids to prostitutes for sex. Spencer represents the north shore communities of Cold Spring Harbor, Lloyd Harbor, Halesite, Huntington Bay, Centerport and Northport, in the Legislature. Spencer, a medical doctor who works at Huntington Hospital, was arrested with several illegal Oxycodon pills in his pocket.
According to police, Spencer was arrested after arranging with a known prostitute to trade drugs for sex. Spencer was arrested in the parking lot of the Goodwill Store on Jericho Turnpike in East Northport, where he was meeting the prostitute. He had several condoms and a handgun in his possession, and he arrived for the drug deal in an official Suffolk County car.
Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini (D-Babylon) charged Spencer with two felony drug dealing charges, but stated that his office was considering additional charges. Criminal attorneys have speculated that Spencer could also face charges for stealing opioid drugs from Huntington Hospital, misuse of government property, soliciting prostitution, and for illegally carrying a handgun without a license. The two charges that Spencer already faces carry a sentence of up to nine years in jail.
According to police, Spencer had previously supplied the same prostitute with illegal drugs, and was allegedly planning to have sex with the prostitute in the county car in a dark public parking lot. Unbeknownst to Spencer, the prostitute had been arrested and was cooperating with a joint federal-state criminal investigation into opioid dealing in the Huntington area. Over 453,000 Americans have died from Opioid overdoses in the past 20 years.
Spencer was the Chairman of the Suffolk Legislature's Health Committee and had made numerous public appearances and speeches on the opioid epidemic. According to police, Spencer used his medical license to illegally obtain the Oxycodone that he was trading for sex with prostitutes.
Jesse Garcia, Chairman of the Suffolk Republicans demanded that Spencer resign immediately. He was joined by several Republican members of the Legislature, who called Spencer's crimes and use of county property to deal drugs and engage in prostitution a breach of the public trust.
Spencer has said that he will not resign his seat. However, the Legislature on Friday stripped Spencer of his leadership posts as Democratic Majority Leader and Health Committee Chairman. He was also removed as a member of County Executive Bellone's "Opioid Task Force."
The Legislature's Democratic Presiding Officer, Rob Calarco, fearing the loss of a fellow Democrat that would leave him with only a bare one-seat majority, told Spencer not to resign. "There is nothing in the law that requires a legislator to resign while charges are pending, and while allegations against Spencer are serious, he is entitled to his day in Court." stated Calarco.