Correction officer faces child porn charges

LIVINGSTON–An Ulster County Sheriff’s Office correction officer faces child pornography related charges.

Harold W. Rugar III, 29, of Livingston was charged with one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child (a class D felony), possessing a sexual performance by a child (class E felony), third degree criminal solicitation (class E felony) and endangering the welfare of a child (class A misdemeanor) by Livingston State Police, May 28.

An investigation conducted by State Police investigators revealed that Mr. Rugar allegedly directed an eight-year-old child to take a lewd photograph of a nude seven-year-old child.

At the time of the alleged incident, Mr. Rugar was employed as a correction officer with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office.  Arraigned in Livingston Court, Mr. Rugar was committed to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bail bond and was ordered to re-appear in court June 10.

Later in the evening on the day of the arrest, State Police investigators, armed with a search warrant issued by Columbia County Court Judge Paul Czajka, searched Mr. Rugar’s residence. Additional charges may be pending further investigation. The Columbia County District Attorney’s Office assisted State Police in the investigation.


Five people were injured, including three children, when a United Parcel Service truck crashed into a Taconic Hills school bus, June 1 at 4:11 p.m.

A Taconic Hills school bus driven by Elwin Moore, 24 of Copake, stopped at 851 East Ancram Road to avoid striking a deer when a United Parcel Service delivery truck operated by Michael Dianda, 32, of Hudson, crashed into the rear of bus.

Mr. Dianda told deputies he noticed the bus had stopped, but was too close to avoid it. He applied his brakes, slid on the wet pavement and hit the bus.

The Community and Greenport rescue squads were on the scene and took Mr. Dianda and Mr. Moore to Columbia Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

Ambulances took three students–two to Sharon Hospital in Connecticut and one to CMH–for treatment of neck and back pain.

Ancram firefighters were also called to the scene and were clear at 5:13 p.m.

Deputies Jeffrey Hofstetter and Sergeant Michael Merante are investigating.

There were 15 students on the bus at the time of the accident.


A suspect in a Connecticut kidnapping led New York and Massachusetts State Police on a high speed chase that ended with a crash on the Thruway the afternoon of Memorial Day, May 31.

Eric J. Stiggle, 39, of Connecticut, was wanted by Bridgeport Police for a kidnapping that occurred May 30.

A motorist in Holyoke, Mass, spotted Mr. Stiggle and notified Holyoke Police, who initiated a pursuit.

The chase continued westbound onto the Massachusetts Turnpike, where the Massachusetts State Police became involved.

A spike strip was waiting for Mr. Stiggle on the turnpike in Lee, Mass. Both front tires on the Stiggles’ vehicle were punctured and flattened when the vehicle crossed it, State Police report.

But the chase continued into New York State where the Stiggle vehicle sideswiped two State Police vehicles.

The suspect vehicle then went out of control while trying to pass a police vehicle on the shoulder. It struck the guardrail, rolled over and came to rest in a ditch at milepost marker 19.4.

At 12:15 p.m., State Police captured Mr. Stiggle in his car, while the reported kidnapping victim escaped the vehicle and was immediately assisted by a Massachusetts state trooper.

Both Mr. Stiggle and his passenger were taken to the Albany Medical Center, where they were treated and released.

Mr. Stiggle was arraigned on charges of unlawful imprisonment, three counts of first degree reckless endangerment and being a fugitive from justice. He was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail.

The Columbia County District Attorney’s Office is in contact with the appropriate district attorney in Connecticut to arrange to have defendant extradited to face kidnapping charges in Connecticut.

All traffic was stopped on the Thruway until the Canaan Fire Company arrived on scene to provide one lane of travel westbound on this busy Memorial Day holiday weekend.

*Multiple incidents of vandalism at the Berkshire Union Free School on the campus of the Berkshire Farm Center and Services For Youth kept New Lebanon State Police busy and left the school in disarray.

On Monday, May 24, Trooper Jenelle Wait charged a 15-year-old Berkshire Farm Center resident with third degree criminal mischief, a felony.

The boy allegedly ran into and kicked a classroom door, causing about $1,000 damage. Due to the boy’s age, he will face his charge in the Columbia County Family Court.  He was issued an appearance ticket and turned over to Berkshire Farm Center security staff.

Also on May 24, Trooper Ian Jackson charged a 16-year-old Berkshire Farm Center resident with fourth degree criminal mischief. The youth allegedly punched out the window of a classroom door. He was issued an appearance ticket for Canaan Court.

On May 25, Trooper Wait charged a 13-year-old Troy resident, a day student at the school, with third degree criminal mischief, a felony. The child allegedly destroyed an overhead projector and the table on which it was mounted in one of the classrooms, causing more than $1,100 damage to the equipment.

Due to his age, he will also face his charge in the Columbia County Family Court. He was ticketed and released to farm center staff.


Livingston State Police were called to Brookwood Secure Youth Detention Facility on Spook Rock Road for a reported assault May 25.

Troopers found that a facility staff member had been assaulted by inmates Wendell Lightner, 17, Gilroy Pacheco, 18, and Donkell Washington, 17.

The inmates allegedly punched the staff member numerous times in the face causing bruising and swelling.

All three were charged with third degree assault.

Wendell Lightner was additionally found to have a cell phone in his room and was charged with second degree promoting prison contraband.

All three were arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail each.


Sara M. Clough, 28, of Malden Bridge was taken into custody on several charges related to welfare fraud, May 25 at 11:28 a.m.

Ms. Clough is an employee of the Family of Woodstock, Inc. of Kingston, which is sub-contracted by the Columbia County Department of Social Services (DSS) to administer daycare services and assistance funds.

Ms. Clough was charged with one count each of third degree welfare fraud, third degree grand larceny and three counts of second degree possession of a forged instrument, all class D felonies.

She was also charged with five counts each of first degree filing a false instrument and first degree falsifying business records.

The investigation began following a tip from within DSS about Ms. Clough’s activities.

Between July and December 2009, Ms. Clough allegedly forged documents to collect $4,225.50 in public assistance to which she was not entitled.

Sheriff’s Investigator John Rivero and Deputy Brian Molinski made the arrest. She was arraigned before Hudson City Court Judge Richard Koweek and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bail bond. She was ordered to return to court June 17.

The investigation was conducted by Investigator Rivero, Social Services Welfare Fraud Investigator Josh Ryder and the Welfare Resource Unit supervised by Bette Munson.


Crystal Overby, 21, of Hudson was charged with fourth degree criminal mischief by Livingston State Police May 24.

Ms. Overby allegedly drove to Philmont to confront someone over a disagreement. When the person would not come outside of the residence, Ms. Overby allegedly threw a garbage pail at the windshield of the person’s vehicle–damaging it. Ms. Overby was released with an appearance ticket returnable in Philmont Court.

*Clifton Killett, 31, of Philmont was charged with driving while intoxicated and second degree harassment by Livingston State Police, May 23.

Troopers were called to a dispute in Philmont. Mr. Killett had allegedly been involved in the dispute but had fled the scene by the time police arrived. While interviewing the other person involved, Mr. Killett returned to the house in his vehicle. Troopers determined that was intoxicated and that he had allegedly physically harassed the other person involved. He was released with tickets returnable in Philmont Court.

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