Chasidic teen pleads guilty to firebombing attack

JTA

Shaul Spitzer of the New York village of New Square, home to 7,000 people mostly from the Skverer Hasidic sect, on Tuesday accepted a plea bargain in the arson attack on the home of Aron Rottenberg.

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On May 22, 2011, Rottenberg was severely burned over half of his body in an early morning attack outside of his New Square home. He has since undergone several skin graft surgeries.

Spitzer, who had spent a year as a live-in aide to David Twersky, the rebbe of the Skverer Chasidic sect, before the attack, in which he was also badly burned, was charged with first-degree attempted arson, first-degree assault and second-degree attempted murder.

He faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted in the case. Under the plea bargain, Spitzer reportedly will receive a sentence of no more than 10 years. Sentencing is scheduled for April 17.

A civil lawsuit filed in June 2011 by Rottenberg against Spitzer and Twersky said that prior to the arson attack, the family had suffered harassment in the form of rocks thrown at the windows of their home and car, the expulsion of one daughter from the village’s religious school and threatening phone calls to their home.

Rothenberg and his family say they were targeted for harassment for his refusal to pray in the main village synagogue presided over by Twersky

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