NEW SQUARE — The family of Aron Rottenberg, who was seriously burned in an arson attack on his home last month, is seeking $18 million in a lawsuit filed Monday against the village's grand rebbe.
In a similar lawsuit also filed Monday, a group of dissidents from the Orange County village of Kiryas Joel is seeking the dissolution of the village's government, which the plaintiffs' attorney described as a theocracy that has for decades ruled its people through religious intolerance and violence.
Sussman said that though Spitzer, who had lived in Twersky's home for more than a year before the fire, is the only one to be charged in connection with the arson attack, the culture of the village dictates that he likely acted under orders from a higher authority.
"He was living with (Twersky), and an 18-year-old boy in that community does not act independently," Sussman said. "Anyone who knows anything about the community knows that there's no way he would have done this on his own."