Thursday, June 02, 2011

Police told of several attacks before New Square man was burned 

Windows were shattered, cars were vandalized and groups of men protested outside Aron Rottenberg's house well before he was badly burned confronting a man with an incendiary device.

Rottenberg and his friends called Ramapo police eight times in the fall, claiming they were being tormented for opting to pray outside of the Hasidic congregation, a Journal News review of police records shows.

But although patrols were increased, detectives did not get involved until last month — when windows were smashed on the family's Truman Avenue home.

That probe was still going on when Rottenberg was seriously burned early May 22. He remains at Westchester Medical Center, where he underwent additional surgery Tuesday.

The suspect, 18-year-old Shaul Spitzer, is charged with attempted murder and arson. Spitzer, a butler at the home of New Square Grand Rabbi David Twersky and cousin of the village's deputy mayor, was also burned during the incident and is at a New York City hospital.

Detective Sgt. John Lynch of the Ramapo police said he became aware of the other incidents — most of which he described as minor — only after the Rottenberg house was vandalized May 14.

"A call like a broken window, a standalone case like that is not going to make it to the detective bureau," Lynch said Wednesday. "We have approximately 55,000 calls a year. In the real world here, if there's no forensic evidence or need for a further investigation, the investigation is conducted by the police officers handling the incident."

New Square is run by the Skver Hasidic sect, whose leadership and rabbinical court issued a letter in November warning that it was a serious violation not to worship in the main synagogue and that anyone who prayed elsewhere must be stopped from using the community's facilities.

But the first signs of internal strife came two months earlier, in mid-September, shortly after Rottenberg and some friends started praying regularly at the Friedwald House senior residence outside the village.


Who is Hank Sheinkopf? Why is he so desperate? Was it not fulfilling enough for him to be a major lobbyist for the catholic league, opposing all laws protecting our children from being abused? Did he get burnt out from this hot issue?


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