December 12th, 2012
01:02 PM ET
By Rande Iaboni, CNN
New York (CNN) – An outspoken advocate for child sexual abuse victims in a tightknit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood was assaulted this week when a chemical he believes to be bleach was thrown in his face, according to his attorney.
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg was walking the streets of his Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg on Tuesday when a man threw the chemical on his face, causing his eyes and face to burn, said Abe George, the rabbi's attorney.
The assault happened a day after the conviction of Nechemya Weberman, a prominent community member in the conservative Satmar Hasidic community, was found guilty of sexually abusing a girl over a period of three years.
Rosenberg runs a website and telephone call-in line that publicizes claims of sexual abuse in the Hasidic community, and he believes this attack was an attempt to “silence” him, according to George.
Rosenberg said he knew who doused him, describing him as the son of a man he had reported on in the past as being allegedly involved in sexual abuse in the community, the lawyer said.
Weberman's conviction has put the spotlight on the insular Satmar Hasidic community, many of whom live in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Williamsburg.
Joel Engelman, another advocate against sexual abuse among Orthodox Jews, describes himself as a survivor of such abuse. It is rare for respected members of the community to face such allegations in court, he said.
In the past, members of the community have intimidated and pressured those who have accused their leaders of sexual abuse, he said.
Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, is investigating what happened to the rabbi, according to his spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer. It would be speculative to say the incident is connected to Weberman’s conviction, Schmetterer said, "because the rabbi is a well-known activist for certain causes in the community."
No arrests have been made, according to the New York Police Department.
Rosenberg’s vision is still blurry, but his attorney said he believes the rabbi will fully recover.
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