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Crime and Criminals: The Worst of The Worst Discussions concerning some of the most horrible and despicable crimes in history.

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Old 07-13-2009, 07:33 AM
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Default Unadulterated Evil: The Burning of David Rothenberg

I remember reading the book about David years ago, and became so angry that I couldn't even finish it. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and horror of not only being set on fire, but by the hands of his own father! This evil being should never have been paroled.

FACING FATHER FROM HELL BURN VICTIM WANTS TO CONFRONT DAD WHO TORCHED HIM

By JANE FURSE

Friday, May 17th 1996, 2:00AM

The young man who became a national symbol of courage when he survived being set ablaze by his father 14 years ago now wants to confront the man who nearly killed him.

David Rothenberg, who was just 6 years old when he was torched, said he is determined to face his father so he can finally put the past to rest.

"I really want to confront him. I need to close a chapter in my life." Rothenberg told the syndicated TV show "Extra."

Rothenberg said his father, Charles, "is an evil man, and I feel that he should just take responsibility because no one else lit the match."

Determined to lead a normal life, David Rothenberg studied at the University of California at Los Angeles and will go to a New York film school next year to pursue a directing career.

"I feel wonderful, and that's basically how I live my life," he said.

"I don't look back and say, 'Oh, I've had a lot of pain,' because that doesn't do me any good as a person."

In a first step toward breaking with the past, he has changed his name to, simply, Dave.

"All my life, I've been categorized as David Rothenberg, the little burn kid.

But I finally wanted to identify myself," he said.

He has undergone 35 operations and countless skin grafts.

"People would think, just by looking at me, that I'd be all messed up because I've gone through so much. . . . But I'm not. I'm a normal person," said Rothenberg, whose scars are still evident.

Charles Rothenberg, now jailed and awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge in a shooting, set his son afire because he was furious that his ex-wife had custody of the boy. Rothenberg, then 42, doused with kerosene a hotel room in California where his son slept and then set the room ablaze.

The boy suffered third-degree burns over 90% of his body and was not expected to survive.

But he emerged from his hospital bed three months later, wearing a cap given to him by baseball star Reggie Jackson and a mask over his burns.

Charles Rothenberg served less than seven years of a 13-year sentence for attempted murder. He was paroled in 1990, when his son declared that he never wanted to see him.

http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/...hell__bur.html
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:38 AM
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FOLLOWING UP

By Joseph P. Fried

Published: Sunday, June 9, 2002

Man Who Set Son Afire Faces New Arson Trial

His was a horrific act, and now, two decades later, the authorities say that prison did not cure him of his propensity to use fire as a weapon.

In 1983, Charles Rothenberg, a Brooklyn man whose former wife had custody of their son, David, 6, took the boy on a trip to California. While there, he argued by telephone with his ex-wife, Marie Rothenberg, about the trip, and she threatened to keep him from seeing their son in the future. Later, as David slept in the motel in Buena Park where he and his father were staying, Mr. Rothenberg poured kerosene on the bed, lighted a match and fled.

David was rescued, but with critical burns over 90 percent of his body that left him permanently disfigured. His father, soon arrested, pleaded guilty to attempted murder, saying he had decided that if he could not have the boy, nobody could. He said he had planned to die in the fire with David, but had fled in panic. The police said it had been part of his plan to flee.

Mr. Rothenberg was sentenced to 13 years in prison, the maximum, but was paroled after serving less than seven. The case was the subject of a television movie and three books, including one by Mr. Rothenberg and another by Mrs. Rothenberg.

Today, Mr. Rothenberg is again facing arson charges.

He is in a San Francisco jail awaiting trial in a case in which prosecutors say he committed credit card fraud last year against several neighbors and set fire to one victim's apartment door. ''She was getting wise to him, and we think he wanted to get her out of the building,'' said Shay Matthews, an assistant district attorney.

Mr. Rothenberg's lawyer, Gabriel Bassan, said: ''I don't think there is any evidence he set this fire. I think the only reason he was charged is because he is Charles Rothenberg.'' Mr. Rothenberg, who is in his early 60's, has most recently gone by the name Charley Charles.

David Rothenberg and his mother moved to Southern California in 1984 to be near his plastic surgeon, Dr. Bruce Achauer. The doctor's office said recently that his client declined to be interviewed.

David, now 25, who has changed his name at least twice, appeared in the role of a burn victim in 1997 in the CBS soap opera ''The Bold and the Beautiful.'' He has also directed music videos.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/09/ny...lowing-up.html
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