A Hasidic leader and counselor was found guilty on 59 counts of sexual abuse by a Brooklyn jury. Nechemya Weberman, 54, a powerful figure in the Satmar community, was remanded into custody.
The graphic accusations against Weberman were brought forth by a 17-year-old who said the abuse started when she was 12 years old. She said that he forced her to perform oral sex and inappropriately touched her between March 2007 and March 2010. The teenager was ostracized by her community because she asked questions about God’s existence and wore thin tights: “You had to wear tights that are very thick so there’s no way anybody can see your legs,” she said. “I was sent to the principal’s office every day because my tights weren’t thick enough.”
Her school made her see Weberman, who is not a licensed therapist, for counseling. Weberman had insisted he never touched the girl, insisted she was rude (he says she told him "Why should I trust you? Why should I talk to you? You look like a Hasidic f--k. You look like my father"), adding that "There are people who are better than her."
Weberman's lawyer compared the trial to the Salem witch trials, and a dismissed juror told the Post that she'd acquit, "I didn’t have enough evidence to nail the person. No video, no DNA. There wasn’t enough evidence for me. Both sides were a little shady."
The Daily News' Oren Yaniv says that the sentencing is set for January 9—also, "No way to calculate #Weberman sentence. It can be a virtual life sentence with all these counts. 25 is max on top count."
The Wall Street Journal calls this a "big win" for Brooklyn prosecutors, which hasn't focused on abuse in the Hasidic community. Earlier this year, four men were charged with trying to intimidate the accuser, and, during the trial, four men were charged with taking photographs of the accuser—and Tweeting them out— while she was testifying on the stand.