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N.Y. rabbi refuses apology from man who bleached him

(JTA) — Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, an activist against Hasidic child sex abusers, refused to accept an apology from the man who threw bleach in his face.

Rosenberg told New York state Supreme Court Judge Joseph Gubbay that he would not accept the apology from Meilech Schnitzler, the son of an accused Hasidic abuser.

“You didn’t harm me. You harmed all the children I represent,” Rosenberg said to Schnitzler, the New York Post reported.

In December 2012, Rosenberg accused Schnitzler’s father of sexually molesting children. When Rosenberg was walking past Schnitzler’s fish market one day in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, Schnitzler ran toward him with a cup of bleach and threw it in his face. Rosenberg was treated for burns on his face and in his eyes.

The incident came a day after Nechemya Weberman, a Satmar Hasidic leader, was convicted on 59 counts of sexual abuse of a woman whom he abused when she was between the ages of 12 and 15 and went to Weberman for counseling. Rosenberg supported and assisted the victim throughout the judicial process.

Gubbay on Wednesday sentenced Schnitzler to five years’ probation for the attack. Schnitzler had pleaded guilty to the felony charge of “intent to cause physical injury with a weapon” at a hearing in April.

Rosenberg reportedly read an impact statement at court but, according to the blog Failed Messiah, was not allowed to read some of the parts that criticized the district attorney or the plea deal.

According to a copy of the statement obtained by the blog, Rosenberg said the plea bargain in the Schnitzler case “has compounded the damage of my assault.” He said the day after the plea deal was announced he was pelted with rocks by teenage boys outside of a Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg. One of the teens yelled, “Ha, ha! Schnitzler is going free!”

“The reign of violence in my community aimed at children and their protectors must be ended,” Rosenberg wrote in his statement. “Those of us in the Hasidic community willing to cooperate with the criminal justice system are entitled to protection from violence and intimidation. If not for my sake, for the sake of our children, please let the world know that our children will not be abandoned to those who would abuse them and protect their molesters. Please help make all of Brooklyn a safe place for children and those who fight for them.”

Rosenberg runs a website and telephone hotline for sex abuse victims.

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