the ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor convicted by a Brooklyn jury of 59 counts of sexually abusing a teenage girl, was sentenced today to 103 years in prison for his crimes. Weberman, who declined to speak at the sentencing, was convicted after a trial in which one of his victims, who was abused from the ages of 12 through 17, took the stand to testify against him despite threats of retaliation. "[The sentence] sends a perfect message to abusers," the victim's husband, Hershy Deutsch, said after the sentencing, adding that his wife was relieved. "She can sleep better tonight...he definitely won't be able to hurt anyone else."
Joel, a 30-year-old Hasidic Jew who observed today's sentencing, said he thought the sentence was fair. "It sends a message that abuse will not be tolerated." Joel, who would only give us his last name, said he had been following the trial closely because several of his friends were abused by authority figures as children. He added that he believed the victim's testimony might encourage more victims to speak out: "I'm hopeful that things will change, but I can't predict the future."
At least 10 more teenagers and married women have come forward to allege that Weberman sexually abused them in his role as a counselor in the Hasidic Satmar sect in Williamsburg.
Outside the courthouse, Weberman's supporters continued to maintain his innocence: “He would never do such a thing, not near such a thing and it hurts me very much,” Williamsburg resident Yuchezarun Roth told CBS. Another Williamsburg resident, Nancy Zeif, told us that Weberman's conviction was "politically driven." "I don't think it is going to change anything. It will shut even mores things down, because there's retaliation in this society and nobody wants to be retaliated against."
Reporting by Sophie Kleeman