Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) was indicted Nov. 8. The indictment includes drug and prostitution-related charges. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.
Spencer, 54, who is currently serving as legislator for the 18th District, was arrested Oct. 20, 2020. According to police, authorities had arranged a sting operation, and the Centerport resident allegedly planned, via text message, to meet a prostitute, who was an undercover agent, in the parking lot behind the Goodwill store in Elwood to trade sex for the pills. Spencer was allegedly found with two oxycodone pills, a legal form of opioid, in his possession.
According to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the county legislator is also facing charges for allegedly filing false information in a police report. In the report, he claimed to be a victim of an extortion scheme involving prostitution.
The charges include criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree; criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree; tampering with public records in the first degree; falsifying business records in the first degree; offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree; perjury in the second degree; making an apparently sworn false statement in the first degree; patronizing a person for prostitution in the third degree; and attempted patronizing a person for prostitution in the third degree.
“Following his arrest, my office conducted an extensive, thorough investigation in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, which resulted in this grand jury indictment,” District Attorney Tim Sini (D) said. “Investigators found that multiple women had allegedly been paid in either cash or drugs for sex acts with the defendant over the course of several years, as corroborated by text message exchanges and other evidence.”
According to the DA’s office, in July of 2020, Spencer filed a complaint with the Suffolk County Police Department. In the complaint, he said he had been the victim of an extortion scheme. In a written statement to detectives he said, “I have not sought the services of prostitutes or call girls.”
After his October 2020 arrest, he agreed to the suspension of his medical license “during the pendency of the case,” according to the DA’s office. Spencer is a physician who operated a private medical practice in Huntington and was also chief of otolaryngology at Huntington Hospital. He is married and has three children.
On Nov. 8, he was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Dec. 8. He faces a nine-year maximum sentence in prison if convicted of the top charge. Attorney Anthony LaPinta, of Hauppauge, is representing Spencer.
LaPinta said the indictment wasn’t a surprise.
“We were all aware of the investigation and the witness involved,” the attorney said, adding his office has been doing its own investigation.
“Up to now, there’s been only the prosecutor’s version of the facts,” LaPinta said. “There’s a different side to these facts that we will in time come out with.”
Spencer, who has served nearly 10 years as county legislator and was Democratic majority leader and chairman of the legislative health committee, decided not to run for reelection this year. Town of Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson ran on the Democratic ticket for the district but lost the race to Republican Stephanie Bontempi.
Updated Nov. 10 to included quotes from Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini and Spencer’s attorney Anthony LaPinta.