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Town teen charged with burglary of Ghent Church


GHENT—A Ghent teenager is in the Columbia County Jail accused of burglarizing a local church.

State Trooper Andrew Behrens was patrolling in the hamlet, when he stopped a 2007 Toyota sedan operated by Daniel J. Graziano, 17, of Ghent for numerous vehicle and traffic violations, June 23.

Troopers determined that the car was owned by the Bible Baptist Church of Ghent and that Daniel did not have a valid driver’s license or permission to operate the vehicle.

Further investigation into the matter revealed that on June 23, Daniel allegedly burglarized the local church, stole the keys to the car and stole the church vehicle from the parking lot.

He was charged with third degree burglary and third degree criminal possession of stolen property, both class D felonies, June 24. He was arraigned in Ghent Court before Justice David W. Harrison, Sr. and sent to the Columbia County Jail. He is due back in court July 7.


Lonnie E. Jackson, 35, and Tremain D. Jackson, Sr., 25, both of Pittsfield, MA, and Dylan R. Hines, 18, no known address, were all charged with fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputies Thomas Bagnall and Peter Merante, June 10 at 12:25 a.m.

All three men are accused of intentionally damaging two signs and a mailbox at the Faith Christian Academy, Atlantic Avenue. They were arraigned in Stockport Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $500 bail. They are scheduled to return to court at a later date.


Robert Arrigo, 45, of Copake was charged on a warrant for endangering the welfare of a child, class A misdemeanor, and second degree harassment, a violation by Deputy Kelly Briscoe with the assistance of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office in Millerton, June 9 at 8:33 a.m.

Mr. Arrigo allegedly pushed a person almost striking a child. He was arraigned in Copake Court and released on his own recognizance to return at a later date.


Richard C. Bauer, 36, of Athens was charged with fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, and second degree harassment, a violation, by Deputy Jeffrey Hofstetter, June 14 at 6:20 p.m.

Mr. Bauer allegedly confronted another vehicle operator on County Route 25 in Stockport while they were both outside their vehicles. He allegedly pushed the other operator up against his car causing damage. He was issued tickets returnable in Stockport Court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email

Pendell guilty of sex crimes, murder plot

CLAVERACK—A Columbia County jury returned a guilty verdict against Perry Pendell on one count of criminal solicitation (to murder); nine counts of second degree rape; one count of second degree criminal sexual act; and four counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child, according to a press release from Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka.

In a seven-day trial before County Judge Richard M. Koweek at the A.B. Shaw firehouse, the temporary location for jury trials while the county courthouse is renovated, DA Czajka called the child victim, two Secret Service agents, Columbia County Sheriff’s investigators and deputies to the witness stand.

The jury of nine men and three women announced their verdict at 5:30 p.m., June 19 after deliberating for about five hours.

DA Czajka referred to this investigation, conducted under the direction of former Sheriff, David W. Harrison and then Captain, now Sheriff, David P. Bartlett, as one of the most extensive and comprehensive in Columbia County in many years.

The DA commended the work of all investigators and deputies, Investigator Mark Dunspaugh in particular. But he reserved his highest praise for the victim, saying in the release, “Pendell, of Chestertown, New York, sexually assaulted a young child over several weeks in 2012. Once apprehended, he plotted to have his victim murdered. In spite of these assaults, and with knowledge of the murder plot, the child bravely took the witness stand, where she was subjected to a withering cross-examination. Her courage guarantees that this predator will never assault another child.”

Mr. Pendell faces more than 70 years in state prison when he is sentenced August 19.

Internal controls tightened after scrap metal probe

ALBANY—The state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has strengthened supervision of employees and tightened internal controls of agency materials in the wake an investigation by State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, which found that an OCFS supervisor made $2,000 by illegally selling the agency’s scrap metal.

“As a result of my investigation, OCFS has adopted a comprehensive inventory of scrap materials—which are state owned assets that have a real dollar value. Our investigation found that an individual responsible for supervising others was able to benefit from the unauthorized proceeds of state property, or direct his subordinates to do the same. As this case demonstrates, unscrupulous employees will engage in such behavior if agencies do not take proper inventory of their assets and effectively supervise their employees,” Inspector General Scott said in a June 6 press release.

The inspector general’s investigation revealed that John Onufrychuk, a maintenance supervisor who worked at the Brookwood Secure Center, an OCFS facility in Claverack, sold or directed subordinate employees to sell 36 loads of scrap metal to a salvage company in Catskill between April 2009 and December 2011. Additionally, the investigation found that state vehicles were used to transport the scrap.

The inspector general further found Brookwood management failed to properly supervise Mr. Onufrychuk

and that OCFS and Brookwood failed to enforce compliance with property inventory and disposal policies.

Mr. Onufrychuk, 62, of Hudson was suspended by OCFS in December 2011. During the pending disciplinary proceedings, he retired in March 2013.

He was employed by OCFS for 27 years at Brookwood, which houses violent juvenile offenders and violent juvenile delinquents.

Inspector General Scott recommended that Brookwood conduct a full property inventory in conformance with agency policy and that OCFS ensure that all agency facilities are conforming to agency policy.

Additionally, she recommended that Brookwood train and better supervise its employees to ensure all property, including scrap, is secure. OCFS and Brookwood have agreed with–and are implementing–the inspector general’s recommendations.

Additionally, Brookwood has relocated scrap materials inside the facility’s fenced in area to improve security. Employees have been instructed that they are no longer permitted to transport scrap to a salvage company; all materials will be collected on-site by a vendor under direct supervision of a facility manager and they will be inventoried on a monthly basis.

Brookwood will document all disposal of scrap materials.

Inspector General Scott referred her findings to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.


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