JAL, N.M. — The manager of a small southeastern New Mexico community facing sexual harassment accusations has said racy text messages he sent to one of his accusers were consensual.
Jal City Manager Bob Gallagher in a statement Wednesday denied all allegations of harassment from that accuser and said he believes he is being targeted.
“Did I engage in ill-advised but legal and consensual text messaging with an adult female? Yes,” Gallagher said. “Did I in any way physically touch, pressure or attempt to exploit this individual? No.”
Gallagher said his female accuser is a “willing, greedy accomplice” who is working with a Jal resident who is angry about a well that was ruled out of compliance.
“I stand by all women and men who have been sexually harassed. This is not about that,” Gallagher said. “This is about an individual who wants money and desires to exploit me in the process.”
His statement came after KOB-TV reported that two women had accused Gallagher of sending them crude text messages and asking for sex.
Dadrianne White told the TV station Gallagher repeatedly sent her lewd text messages for two years after he helped get her out of jail.
Another woman, a city employee, said Gallagher asked for sex at a motel room during an out-of-town training session.
Gallagher said he did text her asking if “I can come by” but that he was joking.
The Jal City Council later handed Gallagher a short suspension and docked his pay for sending the message, KOB-TV said.
Gallagher said he has apologized to his wife and family.
Lawmakers New Mexico and Colorado began revising their sexual misconduct policies this month, joining other state legislatures that are facing questions about whether they are doing enough to deter predatory behavior and protect victims.