Nechemya Weberman Gets 103 Years for Sex Abuse, and Satmars Say 'Whoa'

Brooklyn Ultra-Orthodox Say Harsh Sentence Is Over the Top

Too Long? Nechemya Weberman’s 103-year prison sentence has sparked a furious debate in the community, with many pointing out that the killer of Leiby Kletzky only received 40 years-to-life behind bars after a plea deal.
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Too Long? Nechemya Weberman’s 103-year prison sentence has sparked a furious debate in the community, with many pointing out that the killer of Leiby Kletzky only received 40 years-to-life behind bars after a plea deal.

By Paul Berger

Published January 22, 2013, issue of February 01, 2013.
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Though many commenters on an Orthodox news site, Vos Iz Neias, supported the Weberman sentence, others said it was unfair.

“There is no defending what this man allegedly did,” wrote one anonymous commenter. “But why a sentence usually reserved for mass murderers?”

“This will only cause more fear and cover-ups,” wrote another anonymous commenter. “I believe he is innocent and most of the community agrees.”

Weberman, 54, was a prominent figure in Williamsburg’s Satmar community.

An activist in that community, who did not wish to be identified, said that if Brooklyn’s District Attorney Charles Hynes wants community members to cooperate with abuse investigations, a 103-year prison sentence is “working against his own mission.”

The victim in the Weberman case, who is now 18, was sent to Weberman by her parents for counseling because she appeared to be questioning Orthodoxy. The trial heard how during Weberman’s therapy sessions he repeatedly forced her to act out scenes from pornographic films.

The woman, now 18, told State Supreme Court Justice John G. Ingram during sentencing that she had been unable to sleep at night “because the horrifying images of the recent gruesome invasions…kept replaying in her head.”

Ingram told the court: “The message should go out to all victims of sexual abuse that your cries will be heard and justice will be done.”


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