Attorney seeks unbiased probe

State police execute a search warrent of Club Life owner Alex Rosenstrach’s residence in Kinderhook. Lance Wheeler/For Columbia-Greene Media

KINDERHOOK — No arrests have been made as police continue to investigate an alleged assault July 5 following a Fourth of July gathering at the home of Columbia County Deputy Sheriff Kelly Rosenstrach and her husband Alex Rosenstrach, who owns ClubLife Health and Fitness in Kinderhook.

Kelly was placed on administrative leave Thursday, four days after the alleged assault.

“[The administrative leave] was appropriate under the circumstances while we investigate the incident that took place at her residence,” Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lt. Louis Bray said Friday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office has not set a time for her return to the job, Bray said.

It is unknown whether or not Rosenstrach is being paid while on leave because the sheriff’s office would not comment on the matter, citing personnel issues.

The investigation into the alleged assault is being headed up by the sheriff’s office and assisted by the state police Special Investigative Unit.

State police declined to comment on the case, as the sheriff’s office remains the primary agency investigating the incident, state police Public Information Officer Beau Duffy said Friday.

There are “no new developments” in the case as investigators continue to interview “as many people as possible,” Bray said, adding the sheriff’s office does not want to jeopardize the investigation by releasing information prematurely.

Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett attended Wednesday night’s virtual meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.

The board entered a closed session for 33 minutes to discuss litigation regarding personnel, which was not related to the ongoing investigation into the alleged assault, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said Friday.

The board was briefed on the situation surrounding the alleged assault for “less than a minute” and the closed session was devoted primarily to a separate issue of litigation, Murell said.

The involvement of the state police adds to the transparency of the investigation, Murell said, adding he is not briefed on criminal matters, but he is “satisfied with the process” of the investigation so far.

“If there is a conflict, that is up to the sheriff to make that determination,” he said.

Aside from Murell, the board’s Public Safety Committee, which has budgetary oversight over the sheriff’s office, members Supervisors Raymond Staats, of Clermont; Jeanne Mettler, of Copake; Abdus Miah, of Hudson’s 2nd Ward; and Tistrya Houghtling, of New Lebanon, would not comment on the assault investigation. The other committee members Supervisors Michael Benvenuto, of Ghent; Robert Lagonia, of Austerlitz; Clifford “Kippy” Wiegelt, of Claverack; and Robert Beaury, of Germantown, did not return phone calls for comment.

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka declined to comment on the issue of the sheriff’s office leading an investigation that may involve one of its members.

Anyone with information about the alleged assault or the gathering where it took place is being encouraged to call sheriff’s office Investigator Ian Boehme or the state police “if they don’t feel comfortable” contacting the sheriff’s office, Bray said.

Boehme can be reached at 518-697-0191 and the state police can be reached at 518-786-2455, according to a statement released by the sheriff’s office Thursday.

Contact this reporter at nmishanec@columbiagreenemedia.com or 518-828-1616 ext. 2500.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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