Ultra orthodox counselor sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing girl
A self-described "counselor" in a ultra-Orthodox Jewish community was sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a young girl over three years.
Nechemya Weberman, 54, who was not a credentialed mental health professional, was found guilty in December of 58 counts of sexual abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in an emotional trial in which the victim, now 18, described how he forced her to re-enact scenes from pornographic movies and peform oral sex during "therapy" sessions. Lawyers for Weberman, who was remanded to Rikers Island without bail, have said they will appeal his conviction.
This is thought to be the first time a high-profile child sex abuse case was successfully brought against a member of the Satmar Hasidic community.
In a statement, Brooklyn DA Charles J. Hynes said the case demonstrated that his office will prosecute child abuse where ever it occurs and no matter who commits it. "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 a statement to the media, the victim said seeking justice was "a very rough battle that brought me, my parents and family great humiliation and intimidation, aggravation and rejection, strain and loss of business each too great to describe." Other alleged victims of Weberman, she said, "could not or would not publicly testify," but had cheered her on "for what they themselves were unable to follow through."
Four men who were indicted in June for trying to coerce and bribe the victim and her now husband into silence face a preliminary hearing March 6.