12/11/12

Nechemya Weberman Convicted

A Brooklyn Supreme Court jury has convicted Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed therapist and prominent member of Williamsburg's Satmar Hasidic community, on 59 counts of sexual abuse.

The victim, now 18, was 12 when she was referred to him for counseling for immodesty and cellphone possession.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charlie Hynes, criticized for his lenient handling of child sex abusers in Brooklyn's politically powerful ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, saw the verdict as a milestone.

Victim advocates said it will take more than one verdict to change the community's attitudes.

The trial offered a glimpse into the rigid codes of behavior for young Satmar girls, policed by "modesty committees" who can send girls to high-priced religious counselors like Weberman for failing to wear panty hose of the proper thickness.

No physical evidence was introduced at trial.  The verdict came down to the credibility of Weberman and his victim.

The jury believed her.

Sentencing is scheduled on January 9 before Justice John Ingram.

Weberman's attorneys say he will appeal.

The article from the New York Times.

Pre-trial, Hynes' office prosecuted four Weberman supporters for evidence tampering.

During trial, four other men were charged with criminal contempt for taking cellphone photos of the victim and posting them on the internet.

After trial, a rabbi known as an advocate for child sexual abuse victims was assaulted on the street; the assailant was indicted [JTA]; and DA Charlie Hynes gave an award to Hasidic advocates for child sex abuse victims [Huffpost.]

Nechemya Weberman's Aharonite Satmar faction endorses Charlie Hynes for re-election [Failed Messiah.]

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