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Alleged Assault Of Husband By Pack Of Teens Becomes Divisive Issue In Rockville Centre

Three of the Rockville Centre Beating Suspects (Credit: CBS 2)

Three of the Rockville Centre Beating Suspects (Credit: CBS 2)

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A father of three, brutally beaten, defended his wife from sexually-laced taunts from a group of teens.

It happened in the upscale village of Rockville Centre almost a month ago, but residents have been very vocal about the treatment of the young men charged in the beating.

It’s a manicured block with stately homes, one belonging to the New York State Senate Majority Leader. But the peace of Roxen Road was shattered a month ago by a midnight attack.

“It was like someone was being murdered,” Roxen Road resident Robin Sackstein told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “That’s how loud it was.”

Police said that a 44-year-old mother of three — out walking her dog — was verbally accosted by a pack of teens. Her husband then jumped into his car looking for the teens to demand an apology.

But when he found them, he was brutally beaten.

“He had fractured ribs, an injured jaw and a concussion,”  Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario said.

“He hasn’t been back to work yet — that’s four weeks — and he’s in a lot of pain,” Katie Schumacher, the victim’s friend, said.

The victims have not spoken publicly, but friends said that the assault underscores the problem of teen drinking. There have been three arrests, all of which were local 18-year-old boys.

The assault has become a divisive issue in Rockville Centre, where village hall meetings have been packed and chat rooms have been filled with contentious comments. Some suggest that the teens weren’t arrested soon enough, and are upset that they were allowed to attend prom and graduation. Others suggest that somehow the victim acted as a vigilante.

“He was doing what every male would do, and was looking for an apology for the behavior against his wife,” Gennario said.

There was no answer at the homes of the arrested teens, but their attorneys claim that they had nothing to do with the verbal assault on the woman, and that they were walking home when they were set upon.

One attorney said that his client “is a good kid — he was defending himself.”

But neighbors on Roxen Road — some of whom witnessed the incident — see it differently.

“It just really rocked the community to the core,” Sackstein said. “You live in what you think is an ideal community, and it was just blatant disrespect.”

“I would like parents to take responsibility for their kids,” Maggie Macrae, another Roxen Road resident, added.

Rockville Centre’s mayor sent a letter to residents, saying, “This outrageous assault has my blood boiling.” He’s asked police to pursue the case aggressively.

The examination of surveillance video shot from a neighbor’s house could identify more teens.

New York State Senator Dean Skelos, who lives two doors away from where the attack occurred, said that he was in Albany on the night of the assault.

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