An aide to County Legislator Carrie Solages, a Democrat from Elmont, was arrested on Feb. 24 after a woman accused him of groping her.
Derek Lawrence, 49, of Elmont, was charged with forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse — both misdemeanors — for an incident that, according to the woman, occurred at approximately 11 a.m. on Feb. 18. According to the complaint, Lawrence hugged the woman, made a sexually explicit remark, rubbed up against her, kissed her neck and felt her breasts.
Solages, for whom Lawrence has worked since last April, declined to comment, citing confidentiality and privacy issues. Lawrence’s attorney, Bellmore-based Eric Sachs, did not return a call seeking comment.
Lawrence is first vice president of the Elmont Cardinals Sports Club, which also declined to comment.
The Nassau County district attorney’s copy of the complaint did not identify the woman. Lauren Corcoran-Doolin, a Democratic spokeswoman, issued a statement indicating that, “Due to considerations of confidentiality and privacy, we cannot comment on any specifics,” Corcoran-Doolin said, “but rest assured that the safety of our employees is always the highest priority. That is why appropriate action was immediately taken to ensure the safety of all legislative staff.”
There are currently no requirements for background checks of legislative employees. Solages also declined to comment on whether he knew about Lawrence’s previous criminal record — a January 2011 guilty plea to second-degree assault on an unidentified woman that landed him in jail for one day.
Lawrence was arraigned on Feb. 25 before Judge Joy Watson in First District Court in Hempstead. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $5,000 bail. An order of protection for the woman was granted.