NEW YORK (May. 16)
Five Hasidic Jews were arraigned yesterday in Brooklyn Supreme Court on charges of kidnapping and assault brought against them by a Hasid who said he was abducted and beaten by the five last Jan because he had violated religious law by getting a civil divorce.
According to a spokesman for District Attorney Eugene Gold’s office, the accused seized Samuel Lebovics, 60, of the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, on a Williamsburg street last Jan. 28, threw him into a bus, handcuffed and blindfolded him and beat him with their fists while driving to a Jewish cemetery in Spring Valley, NY. At the cemetery they beat him again. He was held overnight in the bus, blindfolded and handcuffed, the DA’s spokesman said, and was driven back to Brooklyn the next day where a Hasidic rabbi performed a religious divorce ritual and Lebovics was released. The rabbi was unaware of the alleged kidnapping, the spokesman said.
Lebovics was hospitalized for two days for head cuts and two broken ribs and reported the incident to police. The accused, who face charges of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and first and second degree assault are Max Lunger, 60, of Spring Valley; Solomon Friedman, 27; his father, Yitzhak, 58; Simon Friedman, 18; and Jacob Gault, 20, all of Brooklyn. They were released in their own recognizance by Justice John R. Starkey and a hearing set for next week.