Thursday, October 27, 2011
Ramapo police arrested Shaul Spitzer after he left the Rockland County Courthouse in New City following an appearance on felony charges of attempted murder, arson and assault.
Spitzer has been indicted on felony charges of trying to set Aron Rottenberg's Truman Avenue house in New Square on fire at 4:15 a.m. May 22.
During a confrontation outside the house, one of Spitzer's incendiary devices exploded, burning Rottenberg over 50 percent of his body, police said. Spitzer, too, suffered severe burns to his arms and hands.
Rottenberg and his family became targets of late-night protests and vandalism by residents loyal to Grand Rabbi David Twersky from September 2010 to a week before the alleged attempted arson in May.
Rottenberg and other male residents had drawn the ire of religious leaders and Twersky for publicly refusing to follow the rabbi's edict that his followers pray during the weekly sabbath in the village's only synagogue.
Rottenberg instead led a contingent that prayed with residents at the Friedwald Center on New Hempstead Road, less than a mile from New Square.
As part of Spitzer's $300,000 bail, the judge signed an order mandating Spitzer stay away from the Rottenberg family, their home and business.
Police on Wednesday accused Spitzer of walking outside Aron Rottenberg's Truman Avenue house on Oct. 4 at 3:15 p.m. in violation of the court order.
Spitzer appeared before Ramapo Justice Rhoda Schoenberger on a misdemeanor count of second-degree criminal contempt.
The Rockland District Attorney's Office didn't recommend additional bail, deciding the $300,000 bail set on the felony charges was sufficient, Ramapo Detective Sgt. John Lynch told Schoenberger. Spitzer is scheduled to appear in New Square Justice Court at 6 p.m. Nov. 21. Defense attorney Kenneth Gribetz said after court Wednesday that Spitzer would plead not guilty.