Rabbi who fought against child sex abuse is attacked with bleach

'Revenge' street assault comes one day after the conviction of prominent offender

New York

A rabbi known for his efforts to expose sexual abuse within New York's ultra-orthodox Satmar Hasidic community was attacked by a man who splashed what appeared to be bleach in his face.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, who maintains an online blog and an information hotline for abuse victims, was assaulted a day after a prominent member of the community was found guilty of repeatedly abusing a young girl who went to him for help.

The rabbi was a regular presence and staunch supporter of the victim at the trial of Nechemya Weberman, from the ultra-orthodox community in the Williamsburg quarter of Brooklyn. Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, was convicted by a jury at the New York State Supreme Court of abusing a girl who was sent to him for counselling. The abuse, which the girl said continued for three years, began when she was 12.

Weberman was convicted on Monday on 59 counts of abusing the girl. On Tuesday, Rabbi Rosenberg, who in the past has been ostracised for talking publicly about Satmar Jews whom he believed were sex abusers, was ambushed at around noon by an unidentified man as he walked down Roebling Street in Williamsburg.

"He comes up to me and he taps me on the shoulder," the 62-year-old activist told the New York Post after being treated in hospital for burns to his eyes. "He walked up hard to me. He looks me in the face. I saw him holding a glass. I thought it was coffee or something and he throws it in my face." He said he believed the attack was in retaliation for his support of Weberman's victim. Soon after the trial, the rabbi welcomed the verdict on Twitter, saying: "Burech hashem!! [Praise God!!]... Chazer [Pig] Weberman is arrested..."

No one has yet been arrested over the attack. Police told The New York Times that there had been an "ongoing dispute" between the rabbi and the man who attacked him this week. A police spokesman also told the paper that there appeared to be no connection between the attack and the conviction of Weberman.

The conclusion of the Weberman case on Monday was seen as a victory for prosecutors probing a community that has long faced accusations of intimidating victims.

Weberman, 54, was accused of exploiting his status to access victims who were seen as problematic for falling foul of the Satmar's strict norms on personal modesty. In the end, with no physical evidence to go on, the trial was a battle of testimonies, with the now 18-year-old victim's word pitted against Weberman. Sentencing is set for early next month, with Weberman facing the possibility of decades behind bars.

"The veil of secrecy has been lifted," the Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes said after the conviction, according to The New York Times.

"The wall that has existed in parts of these communities has now been broken through. And as far as I'm concerned, it is very clear to me that it is only going to get better for people who are victimised in these various communities."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory