Claverack man charged with sex abuse

STOCKPORT—Alejandro Lopez, 24, of 595 State Route 217, Claverack has been charged with first degree sexual abuse, a class D felony, according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Alejandro Lopez

Sheriff’s deputies received a report April 13, that a child under the age of 13 was a victim of a sexual abuse. An investigation was initiated by Deputy Samantha Plass and Investigator William Dunspaugh, which revealed that the victim was subjected to sexual contact. The abuse was reported to have occurred at a private location in Stockport on different occasions during the summer months of 2016.

Mr. Lopez was charged with one count of first degree sexual abuse, April 21 at 9:50 a.m. He was arraigned before Columbia County Court Judge Richard Koweek and was released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in Hudson City Court June 11.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and the Child Advocacy Center.


Zachary Willis, 22, of Hillsdale was charged with second degree reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor; third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a class U misdemeanor, and second degree harassment a violation, by Deputies Daniel Keyser and Joshua Torchia, April 12 at 6:35 p.m.

Mr. Willis is accused of driving his vehicle in the direction of a male victim walking on West End Road in Hillsdale. Mr. Willis then allegedly exited his vehicle and punched the male victim in the face. Mr. Willis was issued appearance tickets returnable in Hillsdale Court May 20.


Gabriel Ruggles, 24, of Mechanicville was charged with fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputies Samantha Plass and David Stevens, April 9 at 12:58 p.m.

Mr. Ruggles is accused of damaging property at a private residence in Kinderhook. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Kinderhook Town Court May 5.


Dana Murphy, 37, of Gloversville was charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, both class U misdemeanors, and failure to keep right, a traffic infraction, by Deputies Cindy Madison and Daniel Keyser, April 7 at 2:56 p.m.

Ms. Murphy was operating a motor vehicle on Middle Road in Austerlitz when it went off the roadway and down an embankment. She was administered a breathalyzer test, which yielded a 0.13% blood alcohol content. She was issued tickets returnable in Austerlitz Court May 27.

To contact Diane Valden email

Cook safely while staying at home

ALBANY—Families and individuals across New York State are staying home to practice social distancing to help flatten the Covid-19 curve.

With many restaurants closed or limited to take-out or delivery services, more New Yorkers are cooking at home. Cooking and baking can be a positive activity for family connections but it also can lead to some lapses in home kitchen and cooking fire safety. Some local fire departments and dispatch agencies are seeing an increase in calls for minor kitchen fires and burnt food incidents. Local volunteer fire departments are working hard to protect their neighbors and respond to calls for help during these challenging times.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) asks for the public’s help in keeping themselves and others safe as everyone works together to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires and are the number one cause of home fire injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.

“We typically see an increase in home kitchen fires around the winter holidays when families host large dinners. We want to make sure during this pandemic, as everyone is staying home, that we can avoid unnecessary tragedy. Kitchen fires can be avoided by following some simple safety tips like never leaving the stove unattended and checking that smoke alarms are in good working order,” FASNY President Steven E. Klein said in a press release.

FASNY offers a few cooking safety tips to follow as social distancing continues throughout the state.

*Remain in the kitchen while cooking. Whether you’re frying, grilling, baking or broiling food, it’s always a good idea to supervise cooking directly. With many New Yorkers working from home, or attending to school-age children that are now home more, it is very easy to become distracted while cooking.

*Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for “just a second.” A second is all it takes for a house fire to start.

*If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind yourself that you’re cooking.

*For homes with children, have the kids remain outside the kitchen area while food is being prepared. Pets should also be kept out of the kitchen while cooking. The safest chef is an undistracted chef

*Avoid loose or dangling clothing when cooking—particularly around the stovetop burners on gas ranges

*Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning by pressing the “test” button. If needed, replace the batteries—and if not functioning after testing, install brand-new smoke alarms.

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