Wednesday, June 18, 2014
A Brooklyn judge forced an Orthodox Jewish man who threw bleach into the face of an anti-child abuse advocate to apologize in court Wednesday — but the advocate refused to forgive his attacker.
Meilich Schnitzler, 38, was sentenced to five years probation for the December 2012 bleach attack on Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg in Williamsburg.
“The conduct is the kind that resonates viscerally. By the grace of God the rabbi wasn’t blinded,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joseph Gubbay said before ordering Schnitzler to make amends.
“I want to say I’m sorry for what I did and I regret what I did,” Schnitzler said. “Can you please forgive me?”
But Rosenberg, standing in the gallery, shook his head.
“No, because you didn’t harm me, you harmed the thousands of children I represent,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg – who criticized District Attorney Ken Thompson for the no-jail plea deal Schnitlzer received – said he was targeted for his child advocacy work.
“My assault was not a random event,” he said in his victim impact statement, adding that Schnitzler assaulted him one day after the sex abuse conviction of Rabbi Nechemya Weberman. “I supported the victim who testified against Weberman, something that made me very unpopular in my Hasidic community.”
DA Thompson defended the plea deal.
“After reviewing the facts of the case, we determined that this is an appropriate disposition,” Thompson said in a statement, noting that Rosenberg wasn’t permanently injured and Schnitzler had no prior arrests and will have to take an anger management class.
Schnitzler declined to comment outside court.
Rosenberg operates a Yiddish language phone hotline with recorded lectures about how to prevent and prosecute child sex abuse and a website that identifies alleged child abusers.
The high-profile Weberman case provided a rare glimpse into the insular world of Brooklyn Hasidism and created dramatic rifts in the community.
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