Schenectady County

Man convicted of prostitute attacks

A Schenectady County Court jury convicted an Albany man of kidnapping and rape in attacks on prostit
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A Schenectady County Court jury convicted an Albany man of kidnapping and rape in attacks on prostitutes that he took to Rotterdam after hardly a day of deliberations Friday.

Joseph Kruppenbacher, 63, now faces up to 75 years in state prison on the three most serious convictions at his May 14 sentencing.

The verdicts were announced around noon Friday. Kruppenbacher placed his head in his hands as the first guilty verdict was read, those present said.

Also in the courtroom was the woman Kruppenbacher was convicted of raping, prosecutor Michele Schettino said.

“It was very difficult for her,” Schettino said later. “I think she’s very pleased with the result.”

The woman, she said, has since left the world of prostitution and is trying to turn her life around. The woman has cited the attack at the hands of Kruppenbacher as one of the factors that got her away from that path, Schettino said.

Kruppenbacher was convicted on 11 of 20 counts after a two-week trial before Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye. He was acquitted on the nine others, including attempted murder.

Convictions on two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of first-degree rape carry sentences of up to 25 years each. Those sentences can run consecutively.

Even one sentence of 25 years could mean that the 63-year-old Kruppenbacher would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Kruppenbacher had been free on bail. After the verdicts, he was ordered into custody.

Kruppenbacher has consistently denied the most serious accusations, admitting only to patronizing prostitutes but not always for sex.

He was represented in court by attorney Todd Monahan, who said later Friday that an appeal is expected.

“He’s happy that the jury was able to see at least some of the truth that was out there,” Monahan said. “I still believe that the witnesses had deep credibility problems. I don’t believe they told the truth. I do believe an innocent man has been convicted.”

A potential barrier to a successful appeal could be that the jury was asked to consider charges related to five separate women in five separate incidents.

Kruppenbacher was outright acquitted on charges related to one of the women.

Kruppenbacher was accused of threatening the five women, all of whom worked as prostitutes, with knives and threatening to kill and rape them. All were taken to Rotterdam and attacked in early 2008.

Three of the women came forward immediately after the alleged attacks, in January, February and April 2008. Two women came forward later after Kruppenbacher’s arrest was publicized.

The one full acquittal was related to a woman who had come forward later. However, the first-degree rape conviction related to the other woman who came forward later and was in court for the verdict, Schettino said.

That woman, Schettino said, didn’t come forward initially, believing that no one would believe a prostitute. She finally told her story after reading of Kruppenbacher’s arrest and that other women were being taken seriously.

“This is a step toward keeping the community safer, women safer,” prosecutor Schettino said afterward. “This is someone who went after this class of women because he wasn’t expecting them to come forward.”

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