Top Local News For Columbia Greene Counties

Top Local News For Columbia Greene Counties

Top Local News For Columbia Greene Counties


Attorney general asked to investigate K’hook assault case

KINDERHOOK—Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka has asked the State Attorney General’s Office to take over the case of an assault on a man at the County Route 21 home of a Sheriff’s deputy, July 5.

The Columbia Paper has learned from a source close to the assault investigation, that the DA made the request earlier this week after new information about the case came to light July 27.

Asked to confirm the information Wednesday, Mr. Czajka said he had no official comment.

The home where the assault of Harold Handy, a local mechanic, took place belongs to Alex and Kelly (Briscoe) Rosenstrach.

Mr. Rosenstrach, the owner of Club Life Health and Fitness, 3143 U.S. Route 9, Valatie, was in the news recently for re-opening his gym in defiance of Covid-19 New York State Executive Orders until it was shut down by officials.

Mrs. Rosenstrach has been employed as a Columbia County sheriff’s deputy for about eight years. She has served on patrol and as a school resource officer in both the Chatham and New Lebanon Central School Districts.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to assist the Valatie Rescue Squad at the Rosenstrach residence July 5 at about 1:27 a.m. Deputies arrived on scene and found a man who had been the victim of an assault that had taken place during a Fourth of July party at the Rosenstrach home.

The victim, who had serious injuries, was taken to Albany Medical Center for further treatment.

According to television news reports, Mr. Handy’s relatives said, “He’s lucky to be alive” and was placed on a ventilator prior to his release from Albany Medical Center’s Trauma ICU, July 6. The family said Mr. Handy was the victim of a group beating early Sunday morning following a 4th of July celebration.

The Sheriff’s Office came under criticism following the assault because it took the lead on an investigation involving one of its own.

“I requested assistance from the New York State Police in the early stages of this investigation. Our investigators, and investigators from the New York State Police Special Investigative Unit have worked side by side throughout this entire incident, along with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. At the conclusion of this investigation, anyone, including a member of my agency, who participated in this assault will be held accountable,” Sheriff David Bartlett said in an earlier press release.

The request for the AG’s Office to take over the case, does not mean that the DA has disqualified himself from the case entirely if the AG decides not to take on the case.

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