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Ex-official pleads guilty in sex case

Former Zephyrhills City Council member Carlton Galster avoided jail by pleading guilty Monday to committing a sex act on a 12-year-old girl last December.

Galster, 64, was sentenced by retired Circuit Judge Edward Bergstrom to one year of house arrest followed by one year of probation for his plea to lewd and lascivious behavior.

Bergstrom, who is sitting in for Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb this week, also said Galster cannot have unsupervised contact with juveniles.

Assistant public defender Laurie Chane told Bergstrom that Galster had completed a sex offender counseling program and had agreed to further treatment. Galster has no prior record.

Zephyrhills police charged Galster with sexual battery May 3 after he admitted he molested the girl, whose name is not being published to protect her privacy.

Galster was Zephyrhills fire chief from 1973 to 1983, when he decided to take early retirement after a disagreement with then-City Manager Louie Holt.

He sat on the City Council from 1985 to last April, when he was defeated by Robert Taylor in his bid to serve a fifth term.