Wednesday, March 14, 2012
belonging to a New Square dissident ablaze during a drunken Purim
Aron Fromowitz, neatly
dressed in black with a trimmed beard, pleaded not guilty through his
attorney to charges of third-degree arson and second-degree criminal
mischief, both felonies.
Fromowitz is accused of setting fire to a car owned by Aron Rottenberg, who was
himself set on fire last year by another young follower of New Square's
grand rebbe for refusing to pray in the Hasidic Jewish village.
Fromowitz, his hands folded behind his back, stood before Ramapo Town Justice Alan Simon for the short session starting at 10:13 a.m., after arriving in
court at 10 a.m., the time promised by his attorney, Gerard Damiani.
After court, Ramapo police took Fromowitz for fingerprints and photographs.
Fromowitz, accompanied by his father, posted $5,000 bail set by Simon,
who also signed orders of protection forbidding him from going near
Rottenberg's home on Truman Avenue or Rottenberg's mother's home on
On March 26, Fromowitz is due in New Square Village Court, where the
case will continue pending a grand jury indictment or a negotiated plea
with the Rockland County District Attorney's Office. Prosecutor Jason
Rosenwasser told Simon that time was needed to investigate the case.
The case was moved to New Square because the arson occurred in the village and Simon noted that, as a town justice, his jurisdiction over village crimes doesn't extend beyond arraignment.
Damiani said after court that he expects to talk with the District Attorney's
Office after he gets a handle on the details of the case. He said the
Fromowitz family just hired him.
The top arson count carries a sentence ranging from probation to 15 years in prison.
"I don't know what occurred yet and I don't know yet what the DA's
position is," Damiani said. "I am sure there will be some discussions."
Fromowitz, who works for the grand rebbe's kitchen and once prayed with
Rottenberg, is accused of setting fire to the rear bumper of
Rottenberg's 2003 Mazda Protege on Thursday night.