Warren County prosecutors say a Schenectady man used drugs to coax sex acts from an underage boy and compel others to clear land he owns in Lake Luzerne this summer.
Roopnarain Dukharan, 58, of Stratford Road, is facing a 17-count indictment handed down Friday by a Warren County grand jury, including felony charges of labor trafficking and criminal sex act with a minor. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and was ordered held in the Warren County jail on $100,000 cash bail or $300,000 bond.
District Attorney Kate Hogan said the labor trafficking charges against Dukharan stem from luring people to his property and giving them drugs to perform work over the summer. Dukharan also provided drugs and alcohol to a 14-year-old boy in exchange for oral sex, according to the indictment.
“This is exacerbated by him not just abusing the child, but manipulating the minor with drugs, alcohol and marijuana,” she said.
Dukharan is charged with one count of labor trafficking, seven counts of second-degree criminal sex act with a minor and six counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, all felonies. He also faces misdemeanor counts of unlawfully dealing with a child, sale of marijuana, criminal solicitation and endangering the welfare of a minor.
If convicted on all charges, he faces nearly 50 years in prison. James Tyner, Dukharan’s attorney, said his client vehemently denies all the charges against him and looks forward to his day in court.
“He’s a hard working guy, he’s an immigrant, he’s built up a good, law-abiding life for himself and his family,” Tyner said. “These charges are a complete surprise to him and his family, who continue to support him.”
Tyner also noted that Dukharan’s bail was lowered significantly since his initial appearance in Luzerne Town Court. He said the initial bail was set at $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond.
“It shows, for all intents and purposes, this guy has led a law-abiding life,” Tyner said.
Dukharan’s arrest record in Schenectady tells a different story. The resident of the stately GE Realty neighborhood has faced a steady procession of charges since 2008, according to published reports. In January 2008, Schenectady police said Dukharan broke a table and threatened to pelt his wife with a six-pound crystal ball. Then, in August 2009, he was accused of breaking a woman’s nose and gashing her head after hitting her with a shovel on Crane Street.
He also faced a harassment charge in December 2010. The resolution of the three cases was not immediately available Friday.
In late August, Dukharan was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, according to documents filed in Schenectady City Court. He was also arraigned on one count of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Those charges followed a morning raid on Dukharan’s home. Investigators said they found two clear plastic baggy corners of crack cocaine, along with numerous hydrocodone pills. Dukharan was also accused of selling cocaine from the home in late May, according to court papers.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said he’s seeking an indictment against Dukharan on the recent charges in Schenectady. Dukharan was released on $25,000 bail last month.
Hogan said the charge of labor trafficking is fairly unusual in Warren County, admitting that the case in general is anything but ordinary.
“It’s a multi-faceted case,” she said. “It’s clearly something we don’t see every day.”