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Czajka refuses to reinstate charges in Handy beating

Feb 15, 2022 1:59 pm

Roger Hannigan Gilson reports in the Times Union that Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka won't reinstate the top charges in the beating of a Kinderhook man involving two law enforcement officers, after a judge dismissed the charges late last year. Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Kelly Rosenstrach; her husband, Alex; IRS agent Bryan Haag, and Cory Gaylord, a contractor, were indicted on gang assault, unlawful imprisonment and other charges in October 2020. But they now only face unlawful imprisonment in a case where Harold Handy was beaten almost to death. Handy underwent surgery to have a plate inserted in his face to help repair two fractured bones, but Czajka did not present medical records or details about the alleged operation, and Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek dropped many of the charges, saying in part that prosecutors failed to show a "serious physical injury" to Handy. The man was beaten at a July 4, 2020 party hosted by Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Kelly Rosenstrach and attended by many law enforcement officers. Handy was assaulted multiple times, and then party attendees kept him from leaving, according to the indictment. His wife, who was at the party, was also told by law enforcement officials not to leave or call 911, according to Koweek's decision. At first, the case was handled by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, but the four suspects were not charged for more than three months, and the State Police took over the investigation during that time. Alex Rosenstrach was the largest contributor to then-Sheriff David Bartlett's political campaign. Bartlett lost his attempt at re-election in last fall's election to one of his deputies, Don Krapf. Read more about this story in the Times Union.