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Rensselaer rape case takes surprising turn

RENSSELAER -- He escaped the most serious charges against him because of a paperwork error by the Rensselaer County District Attorney's office, but an accused rapist is not off the hook just yet.  John Halacy, 23, is free from jail after felony charges were dropped, however he appeared to answer to other charges today.

Halacy is free, but now charged with endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful inprisonment, and attempted rape -- all misdemeanors.  He was arrested in February for the alleged rapes of a thirteen and fourteen year old girl.  The family of one of the victims says they live right down the street from Halacy.  They say if they can't get the justice they were looking for in court, they're hoping they can get it another way.

"I have violent thoughts towards him," said an alleged victim's mother, whose identity we are not revealing.  "I wish him nothing but a slow painful death and I hope he rots in hell."

The judge even said it wasn't her fault Halacy was in her courtroom, but she wasn't happy about it either.  It's only after ADA Laura Kruegler and the Rensselaer County District Attorney's office failed to file the proper paperwork at the proper time, and felony charges including rape ended up as far fewer misdemeanors, one among them, attempted rape.  

"I couldn't take my eyes off of him," an alleged victim's mother said.  "He makes me sick to my stomach.  I can't believe he's out on the streets with a slap on the wrist.  It's going to happen again."

The defendant said nothing.  His attorney spoke for him.  "John pled not guilty today," said attorney Arthur Frost.  "That's all John has to say."

ADA Kruegler was no where to be found after the court appearance.  "I don't see how anybody could have faith in our justice system," an alleged victim's mother said.  "Things like this will continue to happen -- it was such a minor detail that this man can walk free.  He doesn't even need to register as a sex offender."

CBS6 went to the District Attorney's office in Troy to give someone at the district attorney's office a chance to speak about the "foul up" to which it admitted.  DA Richard McNally would not go on camera, but told us he was truly sorry, and that the error will be addressed.  McNally was recently elected to a judge's seat for the State Supreme Court.  Still, Kruegler remains on the job, and her office is looking at the possibility of finding other charges to present to Halacy.  Until his next court appearance, a mother worries about protecting her daughter and letting everyone know the man accused of raping her is free.

"She's terrified to see him," she said.  "My older son ran in to him at our local convenience store already.  We will be running in to him and there's nothing anybody can do so hopefully like everybody's saying street justice will prevail."

Mr. Halacy returns to court on December 11.  He must also adhere to three orders of protection in the meantime.

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