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Man Indicted on Charges of Tossing Bleach Into Rabbi's Face

By Sonja Sharp | December 26, 2012 4:44pm

BROOKLYN — The man accused of throwing a cup of bleach in an outspoken Williamsburg rabbi's face was indicted Wednesday on assault charges, officials announced.

Meilech Schnitzler, 37, a local fishmonger, tossed the bleach Dec. 11 into the face of Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, who is known for raising awareness about child sex abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said.

Schnitzler tapped Rosenberg on the shoulder on Roebling Street and then tossed the chemical into Rosenberg's face, temporarily blinding him, prosecutors said.

Schnitzler was charged with attempted assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree and criminal possession of a weapon. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the top charge, prosecutors said.

The alleged assault came less than a day after Nechemya Weberman, a prominent member of Williamsburg's Satmar Hasidic community, was convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl sent to him for counseling. The case — and particularly the verdict — rocked Brooklyn's Orthodox enclaves.

Rosenberg, an advocate for abuse victims and a fixture at the Weberman trial, had previously criticized Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes's handling of similar cases.

Though Hynes and Rosenberg have had their differences in the past, Hynes has promised to vigorously prosecute the case against Schnitzler.

“This indictment alleges an act of thuggery in broad daylight that cannot be tolerated,” Hynes said in a statement. “The indictment sends a clear message that anyone who would seek to intimidate someone opposed to the uncovering of sexual abuse in the Orthodox community will face serious criminal charges and if convicted, I will ask for the maximum jail time.”