KINDERHOOK — The attorney for Harold Handy, the victim of an alleged assault July 5 at the home of Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Rosenstrach and her husband and owner of ClubLife Health and Fitness Alex Rosenstrach, said Friday insiders should not receive special treatment in the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the assault.
Attorney Paul Freeman, of the Freeman Howard P.C. law firm in Hudson, called for an unbiased investigation into the alleged assault in a written statement Friday.
“It is Harold Handy’s hope and prayer that insiders do not get special treatment, and that justice will be served,” Freeman said.
The statement marks the first time Handy has spoken out through his lawyer about the alleged assault, which is under investigation by the sheriff’s office and the state police Special Investigative Unit.
The sheriff’s office has defended its decision to serve as the lead agency in the investigation case that may involve one its own members.
Handy is cooperating “in every way” with investigators, Freeman added.
“Harold Handy was unquestionably the victim of a completely oppressive and avoidable series of criminal acts, and our firm is working directly with investigators and the District Attorney’s Office to provide any details necessary to bring those involved to justice,” Freeman said.
The statement did not give any details about Handy’s condition.
Handy was hospitalized at Albany Medical Center after being treated for 44 minutes at about 1 a.m. July 5 by the Valatie Rescue Squad, Columbia County 911 Director Robert Lopez said July 9. “The events of July 5 have profoundly affected his life, and with the guidance of counsel, Harold is cooperating in every way with the investigation to bring justice on those accountable,” according to Freeman.
Kelly Rosenstrach was placed on administrative leave from her sheriff’s deputy position July 9, four days after the alleged assault on her property.
“[The administrative leave] was appropriate under the circumstances while we investigate the incident that took place at her residence,” sheriff’s office Public Information Officer Lt. Louis Bray said.
The sheriff’s office has released few details about the ongoing investigation in the three weeks since the alleged assault happened. Undersheriff John Davi denied a Freedom of Information request filed July 13 seeking a copy of the sheriff’s office report filed the night of the July 5 incident. Sheriff David Bartlett is reviewing an appeal to Davi’s denial.
Freeman acknowledged the situation is emotionally charged and asked that “no further violence arise from an already heinous set of events.”
He also called for an end to “speculation, innuendo and rumor,” challenging comments made by Handy family friend Jeffrey Morrissey in the Register-Star on July 22 regarding a group of law enforcement officers being involved in the alleged assault.
“That statement is not accurate,” Freeman said.
Freeman said Handy thanks the community for the outpouring of support, compassion and thoughtful wishes after details of the July 5 assault emerged.
“What is clear is that out of tragedy can come change, and here, change is imperative,” Freeman said. “However, what is also clear is that the actual measurable details of the events of July 5 must be chronologically detailed using trained and unbiased forensic investigation.”
Freeman, who was retained to assist with both the criminal investigation and to pursue civil damages for Handy, was not immediately available for comment.
Bray was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.