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“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.
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.