Accused arsonist Steven Raucci was ordered held without bail Tuesday on a charge of terrorism involving another city school district official.
Raucci, 60, the suspended city schools’ director of facilities, appeared in Schenectady City Court Tuesday to answer the latest in a series of charges filed against him. The charges have been lodged one after another by authorities to keep him in jail pending trial, officials have stated.
The terrorism count, a top-level felony, is based on accusations made last week in Saratoga County. In that case he is accused of placing an M-100, the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite, on the windshield of a 2004 Jeep Cherokee parked at a private residence on Hatlee Road in Clifton Park on Nov. 30, 2006. It had a cigarette for a fuse but did not go off.
State police allege with the terrorism count that Raucci intended to “influence the policy” of the Schenectady City School District by “intimidation or coercion.”
Papers do not outline any motive. The charges, however, are based on a supporting deposition provided by Gary DiNola. At the time of the incident, DiNola was winding up 33 years as a coach in many sports including varsity basketball, and as athletic director. He retired in 2007.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney declined Tuesday to elaborate on the charge. No injuries have been reported from the incidents with which Raucci is charged.
The terrorism statute was passed in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Carney said. It has been used elsewhere, including to prosecute street gangs in New York City. The law specifies offenses including explosive devices.
“I believe the theory fits the facts in this case,” Carney said.
Raucci appeared in Schenectady after a brief appearance in Clifton Park Town Court on the original Saratoga County charges.
Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III told the judge prosecutors did not intend to go forward with a hearing. Prosecutors said the hearings would require witnesses to testify, something they did not want.
Raucci previously posted $200,000 bond in a Rotterdam arson case, but he remains in custody. Prosecutors subsequently filed charges in Schodack, Clifton Park and now Schenectady in an effort to keep him behind bars pending trial. The effort to keep him in jail is expected to continue.
Raucci attorney Ronald DeAngelus said later that he intends to make an application to Schenectady County Court for a hearing as early as today. Raucci was not listed on the court calendar late Tuesday afternoon.
No charges have been filed relating to what has been described as an explosive device found in Raucci’s school district office after his Feb. 20 arrest. Authorities have been analyzing the device.
Prosecutors allege Raucci would use explosives or other means to settle scores. The incidents under investigation go back to at least 2001.
Witnesses have come forward but fear Raucci would retaliate should he be released, Murphy said Friday in Clifton Park court.
Schenectady City Court does not have authority to set bail on the felony terrorism charge. A bail hearing would have to be held in Schenectady County Court, where the initial arson bail hearing was held last week.
City Court Judge Christine Clark explained that to Raucci at his appearance. She also again made him aware of his rights.
Raucci has been quiet through his many appearances, looking down most of the time as he remained handcuffed. Tuesday he only answered “yes” when the judge asked if he understood his rights.
The Schenectady County arson count relates to allegations Raucci placed an incendiary device at a Rotterdam house in August 2001. That device exploded, damaging the entryway.
In Schodack, he is accused of placing a device with a cigarette fuse at the home of CSEA employee Laura Balogh in January 2007. That device did not go off. Balogh has worked in the agency’s health benefits department, newspaper records show.
Raucci was the president of the Schenectady City School District’s CSEA unit.
The CSEA Local 847, the umbrella organization that presides over all municipal bargaining units in Schenectady County, has since been placed under administration by the state organization.
Meeting have been scheduled with members this week to explain the situation. One such meeting at the county building has been scheduled for today, according to a flier.