Man charged with sexually assaulting woman at nightclub

Joanna Dornfeld

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged a 29-year-old man March 19 with fifth-degree sexual assault and terroristic threats.

According to the criminal complaint:

Derick Lee Gallagher sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman at a Minneapolis nightclub March 16.

Gallagher put his arm around the woman’s waist and she removed it. Then he put his hand down the back of her pants. The woman removed it and told the man not to touch her.

The victim saw the man talking to her friend. She told him to leave her friends alone. Gallagher hit the victim’s friend and then hit the victim.

Minneapolis police arrested Gallagher. On the way to Hennepin County Jail, the defendant told police, “I’m a Ö smart lawyer, I can’t believe you Ö are doing this.”

“Wait ’til I talk to my friends who are MPD officers. I grew up with them,” Gallagher said.

He then threatened the police officers, using profane language.

During a taped interview, Gallagher told police he drank three beers before going to the bar and had one drink there. He also said he had taken Paxil that day.

Paxil treats depression, anxiety, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Gallagher said he remembered being on the dance floor one minute and in the squad car the next.

He was released on $2,500 bail March 20. Gallagher is scheduled to appear in court April 3.

In other police news:

ï An unknown male suspect robbed the Econo Lodge on the 2500 block of University Avenue Southeast on Saturday just after 9 p.m.

The suspect told the hotel clerk he had a weapon, and he escaped with $400, according to the police report.

The suspect is a 5-foot-4 black male between 30 and 35 years old. He was wearing glasses with black frames, a winter jacket with the hood tied around his face, and black jeans, Minneapolis police Lt. Steve Kincaid said.

Minneapolis police have no suspects. There have been no similar incidents in other Minneapolis precincts in the last few weeks, Kincaid said.

 

ï St. Paul police cited a University student for theft Friday after he allegedly stole balloons tied to a no-parking sign on Snelling Avenue North.

Nathan Mittelstaedt, a political science junior, and two of his roommates were driving on Snelling Avenue North when they decided to pull over and take the balloons, Mittelstaedt said.

“It was pretty much a spur of the moment decision,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of forethought put into it. There were balloons tied up at a couple of different locations within a couple of blocks. It didn’t seem like they were being watched.”

As Mittelstaedt got back into the car, a man ran out of the business behind the sign – the Carousel Consignment Parlor – and hit the car windshield with a cane, shattering it, Mittelstaedt said.

Mittelstaedt and his roommates drove to a nearby gas station and called St. Paul police, he said.

The man from the store had also called police. When the officer exited the consignment parlor, Mittelstaedt spoke with him, he said.

The officer took pictures of the balloons in the back seat of the car and the car’s windshield, Mittelstaedt said. The officer then cited Mittelstaedt for theft, according to the police report.

When Mittelstaedt asked the officer about the broken windshield the officer said the man had the right to break the windshield because they were stealing his balloons, Mittelstaedt said.

Michael Jordan, St. Paul police public information officer, said he agreed with the officer’s reasoning.

“The fault falls on the person who stole the material,” he said.

Jordan said he believes the court would favor the theft victim because he has the right to protect his property.

“But that would be up for the courts to decide,” he said.

Mittelstaedt said he questioned whether tying balloons to a sign was legal.

“If they were illegally tied there, then they’re not his balloons,” he said. Mittelstaedt said he and his roommates plan to seek reparation for the damaged windshield and said they might press charges.