(JTA) — A rabbi who advocates against child sex abusers refused to accept an apology from a Hasidic man, the son of an accused abuser, who threw bleach in the rabbis’s face.
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg told Brooklyn state Supreme Court Judge Joseph Gubbay, who asked Meilech Schnitzler to make the apology in court on Wednesday, that he would not accept the apology because “you didn’t harm me. You harmed all the children I represent,” the New York Post reported.
In December 2012, Rosenberg on his blog for sexual abuse victims accused Schnitzler’s father of being a child sexual molester. As Rosenberg walked past Schnitzler’s Brooklyn fish market, Schnitzler ran toward him with a cup of bleach and threw it in his face. Rosenberg, of the same Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, was treated for burns on his face, around his eyes and in his left eye.
The incident came a day after Nechemya Weberman, a Satmar Hasidim leader, was convicted on 59 counts of sexual abuse of a then-18-year-old woman when she was between the ages of 12 and 15 and went to Weberman for counseling. Rosenberg supported and assisted the victim throughout the judicial process.
Gubbay on Wednesday sentenced Schnitzler to 5 years’ probation for the attack. Schnitzler had pleaded guilty to the felony charge of “Intent to cause physical injury with a weapon” at a hearing in April.
Rosenberg reportedly read an impact statement in the court but, according to the Failed Messiah blog, was not allowed to read some of the parts that criticized the DA or the plea deal.
According to a copy of the statement obtained by the blog, Rosenberg said that the “plea bargain has compounded the damage of my assault.” He said the day after the plea deal was announced he was pelted with rocks by teenage boys outside of a Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg. One of the teens yelled, “Ha, Ha, Schnitzler is going free!”
“The reign of violence in my community aimed at children and their protectors must be ended. Those of us in the Hasidic community willing to cooperate with the criminal justice system are entitled to protection from violence and intimidation. If not for my sake, for the sake of our children, please let the world know that our children will not be abandoned to those who would abuse them and protect their molesters. Please help make all of Brooklyn a safe place for children and those who fight for them,” he said.
Rosenberg runs a website and telephone hot-line for sex abuse victims.