Press Release (6/17/14 9:30 p.m.)
Anti-Sex-Abuse Activist Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg Will Make a Victim Statement to the Court at the Sentencing of His Assailant, Meilech Schnitzler, Who Threw Bleach in His Face
WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Kings County Supreme Court- Criminal Term (17th floor, Part TAP15, 320 Jay Street, 11201)
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, an ordained Hasidic rabbi, is one of the best known activists against child sexual abuse. In a community that normally covers up those crimes, Rabbi Rosenberg exposes them through his call-in phone number, known as “Nuchem Rosenberg’s hotline” which contains recorded lectures, mostly in Yiddish. The lectures educate the community about the problem, identify abusers, encourage victims to report such crimes to the authorities, and offer support to victims and their families.
Another Williamsburg Hasid, Meilech Schnitzler, a fishmonger, threw bleach into Rabbi Rosenberg’s face in a pre-meditated attempt to injure him, on December 11, 2012, the day after Rabbi Nechemya Weberman was convicted of molesting a Hasidic girl sent to him for counseling. It was a time of heightened tensions between those in the orthodox community who favor working with the criminal justice system to prosecute sex offenders, and the majority of the community who despise such cooperation and attack and intimidate victims who testify, and their supporters, like Rabbi Rosenberg.
But for the quick assistance of bystanders who helped douse his face with water, Rabbi Rosenberg might have been permanently blinded. Following hospitalization and a painful recovery, Rabbi Rosenberg regained full vision, though he still suffers discomfort for which he is still under specialist physician care and prescribed medications. He may need this care for the rest of his life.
Meilech Schnitzler will be sentenced this coming Wednesday, June 18, 9:30 a.m., in Kings County Supreme Court- Criminal Term (17th floor, Part TAP 15, 320 Jay Street, 11201) for “intent to cause physical injury with a weapon” (D felony PL12005.02). Mr. Schnitzler pleaded guilty to this charge as part of a plea deal under which he will not spend any time in jail.
Rabbi Rosenberg will exercise his right as a crime victim to make a Victim Impact Statement to the court before sentencing, expressing his dissatisfaction with the plea bargain because of its adverse effect on him and on abuse victims. Rabbi Rosenberg notified the court of his request to make a statement, by hand delivered letter, well in advance of the 10 day limit prescribed by law.
The no-jail plea deal was criticized by Professor Marci A. Hamilton (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law), a leading expert on child sexual abuse. She wrote:
“There is the specter in Brooklyn of a sweetheart plea deal for the criminal who threw bleach on the face of the bravest advocate of sex abuse survivors in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community……In a move that has sent chills through the ultra-Orthodox survivor community, [Brooklyn DA Kenneth] Thompson cut a deal with Schnitzler that will hardly deter future violence against the survivors’ advocates. Instead of serving the years in prison… Schnitzler… received nothing but unsupervised probation. To quote Rosenberg, ‘Probation in our circles is a joke.’” (http://verdict.justia.com/2014/05/01/sex-abuse-lawlessness-ultra-orthodox-jewish-community)
For interviews with Rabbi Rosenberg, call 917 562-2201
COPIES OF THE PREPARED TEXT OF THE VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT will be shared in the courthouse after it is delivered.
The statement will then be posted on the websites http://nochemrosenberg.blogspot.com/, FrumFollies.Wordpress.com and others. Their URLs will be tweeted by @NRHotline, @FrumFollies and others.
Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 6/17/2014
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg