Nechemya Weberman Gets 103 Year Sentence

Hasidic 'Therapist' Convicted of Abusing Young Girl

Nechemya Weberman walks out of court. The Hasidic ‘therapist’ was sentenced to more than a century behind bars for abusing a young girl.
youtube
Nechemya Weberman walks out of court. The Hasidic ‘therapist’ was sentenced to more than a century behind bars for abusing a young girl.

By Reuters

Published January 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor was sentenced to 103 years in prison on Tuesday for sexually abusing a young female patient over three years in the insular Brooklyn community where they lived.

Nechemya Weberman, who was convicted last month of sexual conduct against a child, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, faced up to 117 years behind bars at his sentencing.

Now 18 years old and married, the victim was 12 years old when her parents sent her to Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, for religious counseling. From 2007 to 2010, Weberman sexually abused the girl multiple times, mostly in his office, prosecutors said.

“I would cry until my tears ran dry,” said the victim, her voice shaking with emotion as she read a statement at the sentencing in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

“I saw a girl who had no reason to live … a girl who wanted to live a normal life but instead was being victimized by a 50-year-old man who forced her to perform sickening acts again and again,” she said.

The judge, Justice John Ingram, sentenced Weberman, 54, to 103 years in prison.

After the sentencing, the victim’s husband fought back tears as he spoke to reporters.

“My wife is relieved that the children in our community will be safe,” the husband said, his lower lip trembling as he struggled to maintain his composure. “We hope this sends a message of support to other victims of abusers that their voices will be heard.”

He said his wife’s decision to come forward was a difficult one and that they were still receiving threats from members of their community.

“The abuse of a child cannot be swept under the rug or dealt with by insular groups believing only they know what is best for their community,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

“In this case it took the courage of a young woman to drive home the point that justice can only be achieved through the involvement of civil authorities charged with protecting all the people,” Hynes said.

Kevin O’Donnell, a prosecutor in Hynes’ office, said he and colleagues had learned of about 10 women who claimed they were sexually abused by Weberman, either as children or as adults. The allegations were too old under the statute of limitations to be prosecuted, except in one case in which the woman was still undecided whether she wished to proceed with her complaint.

The Hasidic community has a longtime practice of addressing sex abuse accusations internally, critics say sometimes by ignoring them or intimidating victims into silence.

In 2009, Hynes created a program called Kol Tzedek - Hebrew for Voice of Justice - to help victims of sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities to come forward, including a dedicated confidential hotline. There have been 112 arrests and there are about 50 cases pending as a result of the program, according to Hynes’ office.

Weberman’s trial was marred by accusations of witness intimidation. At one point, four men were arrested on charges of photographing the victim in court, then posting her image on Twitter. Their cases are pending. The identity of victims in sex abuse cases is typically protected.

Outside the courtroom, Weberman’s attorney, George Farkas, said his client was innocent and they would continue to appeal.

“We look forward to the man being exonerated,” Farkas said. “We honestly and truly and fully believe this was a set-up.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.