State police have taken over the investigation into the alleged assault of Harold Handy that took place July 5 at the home of Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Rosenstrach and her husband Alex Rosenstrach, owner of ClubLife Health and Fitness in Valatie, state police confirmed Wednesday.

The change was made at the request of Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, state police Public Information Officer Beau Duffy said.

Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon that he decided on July 6, the day after the alleged assault, to turn this case over to state police in an attempt to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest, but state police declined to take it.

“At that time, the New York State Police declined to take the case, but agreed to assist sheriff’s investigators, and work side by side with them,” Bartlett said. “Since that day, the investigation has been ongoing and very active. The state police have now agreed to handle this investigation in its entirety.”

Saying the sheriff’s office will continue to fully cooperate with state police investigators, Bartlett added, “I asked for the state police to handle this investigation right away, and I support the decision for them to take this over.”

Handy’s attorney, Paul Freeman, of Freeman Howard P.C. in Hudson, has called for an unbiased investigation into the alleged assault.

“It is Harold Handy’s hope and prayer that insiders do not get special treatment, and that justice will be served,” Freeman said in a statement July 24.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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