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Airline pilot could lose house if convicted on child porn charges

TAMPA — The $472,000 house in St. Petersburg's Weedon Cove neighborhood was once owned by a pediatrician.

When she died, her airline pilot brother took possession.

If prosecutors get their way, the next owner could be the federal government.

Donald Edwin Gallagher Jr., an international pilot for American Airlines, was grounded in July to face federal charges of child porn possession and distribution. This month, a grand jury added to his trouble, accusing him of coercing two minors into sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating child porn.

Gallagher, 52, has been held in the Pinellas County Jail for five months, denied bail because Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Jenkins thought he seemed like a flight risk, given his Central American driver's license and his flying abilities.

Last week, the government filed paperwork announcing its intention to seek forfeiture of Gallagher's 3,156-square-foot house at 9200 San Martin Blvd. NE, near the western end of the Gandy Bridge. The Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office lists a market value of $471,708, though the website Zillow.com puts the value at $620,974.

Federal law allows criminal forfeiture in child porn cases. Typically, the government takes smaller items such as laptop computers and hard drives.

The six-count federal indictment suggests that the residence and Gallagher's alleged conduct were somehow linked. It characterizes the home as having been "used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of such offense."

The home was owned for 16 years by Gallagher's sister, Dr. Pamela J. Gallagher, who was found dead there in June 2010 at age 56. The cause of her death was undetermined.

Probate records show that the next March, the house descended to the brother.

In summer 2011, the indictment shows, he used two minors in child porn photographs and videos. The court file does not reflect how he knew the children, and does not provide age or gender. He is also accused of distributing child porn early this year and possessing it in July.

Until his arrest, Gallagher flew international routes to Europe, South America and Central America.

In denying him bail in July, the judge noted in an order that Gallagher lives alone and has no family ties to the Tampa Bay area. The prosecutor said Gallagher has an infant child with a woman in Peru, two teens with a woman in El Salvador and two adult children in South Florida.

Patty Ryan can be reached at pryan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3382.

Airline pilot could lose house if convicted on child porn charges 12/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 26, 2013 9:52pm]
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