Arson suspect now faces rape charges, could get decades in prison

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
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— A 20-year-old Rotterdam Junction man was arraigned Tuesday on sex crime charges that could send him to prison for as much as 25 years to life.

The defendant was already facing as much as life in prison in a separate case working its way through the court system.

In that second case, Alexander Grandstaff faces a first-degree arson count as one of four young men accused in March of making Molotov cocktails in 2010 and hurling them at various sites in Scotia, including at least one occupied home.

Grandstaff appeared in Schenectady County Court on Tuesday to be arraigned in the sex crime case.

In all, he was indicted on one count of predatory sexual assault against a child, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count each of misdemeanor sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, according to prosecutor Tracey Brunecz.

The predatory sexual assault charge marks an increase in the charges against Grandstaff from when he was arrested in January and charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in late December in Glenville.

It is the predatory sexual assault charge that carries a sentence of up to 25 years to life. Brunecz said the grand jury came back with that charge based on “the acts that occurred, his age and her age.”

Grandstaff appeared in court Tuesday with his attorney Kenneth Gibbons. Grandstaff pleaded not guilty to the entire indictment. Gibbons could not be reached for comment later.

Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago continued a full stay-away order of protection in the case.

Present for the arraignment was the girl’s mother, who became emotional toward the end of the proceedings.

Grandstaff had posted bond in the sex crime case, but he was later arrested in the Scotia arson case and has been held without bail since.

In the arson case, Grandstaff and three others were arrested in March on various charges, accused of throwing firebombs at homes and a car in Scotia in 2010. Among the targets, authorities said, was Scotia’s then-police chief. The group allegedly was trying to exact revenge for what they perceived as police harassment.

Investigators believe it was in Grandstaff’s car that the four, then between the ages of 17 and 18, drove around the village in early June 2010, hurling Molotov cocktails at places and individuals they targeted.

All four remain held without bail, each charged with first-degree arson and other counts. They have not yet been indicted in the arson case.

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