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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Weberman’s sentence was so long because Ingram chose to run most of the 59 counts against him consecutively. The maximum jail time he could have imposed was 117 years.

Barry Slotnik, who has served as a criminal defense attorney in New York for four decades, said the judge could have sentenced Weberman to as little as 25 years.

Calling 103 years “an enormous sentence,” Slotnik said, “Obviously the judge had some very strong feelings about the case.”

Rhonnie Jaus, head of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s sex crimes division, said “a fair number of sex offenders” had been given consecutive sentences. However she could not provide an example of someone receiving anything like the sentence imposed on Weberman.

It is now up to an appellate court to decide whether the sentence was correct.

Weberman’s case was highly contentious among the Satmar community where a fundraiser intended to raise $500,000 for his defense attracted thousands of supporters and led to scuffles with supporters of the victim.

The case also ignited fierce passions in the broader battle that has raged across Brooklyn in recent years between abuse victims’ advocates and members of the ultra-Orthodox community who treat abuse claims with suspicion.

And it galvanized District Attorney Hynes whose office in recent years has been accused of failing to adequately prosecute Orthodox abuse crimes or those who seek to silence victims and their families.

In a press conference, Hynes said justice was done in the Weberman case.

“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,” 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,” he added.


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