Monday, April 04, 2011

Hasidic Man on Trial for Sexual Assault!


by Simi Lampert

At 10:15 on Friday morning, Nechemya Weberman was seen before the judge in the Kings County Supreme Court for what promises to be a long trial involving his alleged rape and sexual assault of a 12 year old girl for three years as she was seeing him as a therapy patient. Weberman was arrested in connection with this on February 23rd and is currently out on $15,000 bail.

Weberman’s lawyer, a slick looking man in an expensive suit, turned down Judge Patricia Dimangos’ offer of five years imprisonment and maintained a pleading of not guilty. The court scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, May 11th for the next step in the proceedings. The trial itself has not been yet set. These proceedings can drag out for months or years, often wearing the victim and her supporters thin.

The defendant is a 53 year old married, unlicensed therapist from the sequestered community of Williamsburg, New York, where almost everyone is Chasidic. The courtroom was filled with Hasidim, most of whom were there to support the victim. Weberman’s wife, son, and two sisters sat in the back corner, avoiding the glances of curious audience members.

“I didn’t know about it until last year,” said the victim’s mother, R, in a distraught voice. “By that point he had messed up some of my other kids too. We were seeing him as a family therapist.”

The victim is currently 16 years old and has been to another therapist since she left Weberman a year ago. It was this therapist who discovered the alleged actions of Weberman and informed her parents.

Weberman was ordered to stay away from the victim for the coming six weeks and to refrain from any contact with her.

“I take this sort of thing very seriously,” stated Dimango severely.

The defense attorney made one motion. The police department had searched Weberman’s house recently with a warrant to look for photographs pertaining to the case. The warrant had called for no opening of closets and drawers but apparently the police had ignored that clause. It was determined that any materials found under this warrant was not admissible to the court.

The prospect of a court case for a member of the Chasidic clan, especially a case as covering the taboo topic of sexual assault, is nearly unheard of and highly rare.

The progress of the community in recent years in accepting that this could happen and should be spoken about, has been colossal.

When asked whether the community was supportive of her case and her daughter’s situation, Rachel replied emphatically, “Yes!”

Online forums have been abuzz with this story ever since Weberman was first arrested. Some comments are by others claiming to be molested by this man, while others say such things as “a Hasidic holy rabbi would never commit this crime. You are all anti-Semitic!”

The fact that another hearing was taking place 11 floors below this case in the same building at the same time, involving another Chasid from Williamsburg who allegedly raped a young boy in a mikvah is a mark of just how far the community has come. The defendant in that case, Meir Dascalowitz, a 27 year old, has been out on bail for ten months now, claiming to need psychiatric evaluation for mental instability. His hearing was postponed yet again today, as his lawyer maintained that the psychiatrist who saw Dascalowitz was not fit to assess him as the therapist speaks only English and no Yiddish.

On March 8 a Grand Jury indictment was entered into the court record. Weberman was charged with 150 felonies all involving sexual crimes with a child, including one B felony in the first degree, 145 D felonies and 4 E felonies. Among other things he was specifically charged with the B felony in the 1st degree, of “a course of sexual conduct” with his victim when she was twelve where the act had to have been either oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or penetrating her vaginally or anally with a foreign object which caused injury. A defendant in a similar case was only convicted of eight D felonies and was sentenced to 10-32 years. In theory, Weberman’s sentence, if he is convicted on all charges, could top Bernie Madoff’s by several hundred years.

Before Weberman entered the courtroom this morning, a 30 year old former Chasid, now bedecked in jeans, chains, eye makeup, black nail polish, and long black hair went over to him. He held up a picture of a young boy.

“Do you remember molesting me?” He demanded. “Do you?”*

Five noted activists (among 50) who came to court to support the victims of sex-abuse:

l-R: Rabbi Nochum Rosenberg, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Mark M. Appel, Zvi Gluck, Dr. Asher Lipner

Photos - courtesy of:


Yerachmiel Lopin said...

I am glad you posted this article. I am hoping the YU undergrad social justic club undertakes supporting victims on an ongoing basis.

A milestone in the sex abuse advocacy effort has been the creation of a specialized site focused on supporting victims pursuing justice in the courts. Yasher Koach unveiled its site a few weeks ago. The site aims for a comprehensive list of orthodox sex abuse miscreants including what is known about the case, the history of court appearances, and the next scheduled appearance. More important, it has directions for supporters on things they can do, it will deliver messages of support to victims, and it will be a clearinghouse for requests for volunteer assistance and offers of assistance. The site was thought up less than 2 months ago and it is still working on all sorts of refeinements. So be tolerant and share constructive advice.

Check it out: yasherkoachsupport.blogspot.com

1/3 Response to Maryles About Chicago Survivors of Molestation said...

Dear Harry,
I read with great pain the story of Survivor. It is clear that she needs more help and more support to truly become a survivor. Past experience has shown that the affect of lack of intervention by the community, and especially be the Rabbinical leaders of the community, results in great emotional harm even many years later.
It is well known that many of thwe Jewish youth who as youngsters were abused and molested both by members of their families, as well as those who were molested by non-family members who were members of the community have abandoned our faith and even made suicidal attempts.
Much of the blame must be placed on the shoulders who have frustrated the attempts to help the survivors and prevent the molesters from entering our community.

2/3 Response to Maryles About Chicago Survivors of Molestation said...

Harry, How can you identify with these people and think of them as good people when their hands are stained with the blood of those whom they did not help when they could have offered help. You have attacked many people from charedi circles in other cities that have done less harm than them. You have attacked those who give honor to those people in other cities - people who certainly caused less harm as the people in your city whom you refuse to name and to attack.
For some reason you have a need to protect those who protect the molesters in our city.
It is well known that in Chicago, a group of Rabbis formed a Bais Din that allegedly and ostensibly deals with molestation in our community. And they identify themselves as Project Shield. Project Shield has only shielded the perpetrators and the molestors, not the youth of our city.

3/3 Response to Maryles About Chicago Survivors of Molestation said...

Since the establishment of that so-called Bais Din, parents who came with complaints have been discouraged from going to the legal authorities. While it is true that the members of the so-called Bais Din informs the parents that they have the legal right to go to the police (to cover themselves legally) they almost always mention that they cannot recommentd that they should do so. The implication of that statement is that if you go to the authorities, you will be ostracized, your children will have trouble getting shidduchim and that you will become a pariah in the community. It is not enough to merely require teachers who molested children to stop teaching. Already, some of those children whose parents were frustated in taking action against the molesters have left the path of Torah and it is a result if this so-called Bais Din.
Each group protects its own molesters.
Harry, its time you wake up and smell the coffee. Its time that you reallize that the protecters of molestors in Chicago are just as bad as the protectors of molesters in Baltimore, Monsey, Lakewood, or Brooklyn. For years you have been in a state of denial which is only a reflection of the servile attitude that so many on your community have had. It is easy to criticize those who live in another city and with whom you have no involvement. It takes courage to stand up about the situation in your city and call a spade a spade, a molestor a molestor, and a protector of a molestor a protector of a molestor.
Harry, its time you had some courage. It takes courage not only to speak up, but sometimes even to see the truth. As we approach Pesach, the Holiday of Geulah. of Freedom, its time you severred the chains of bondage that you placed upon yourself and that for some reason you consider as an ornament. May we all be zoche to a chag kasher visame'ach.

p.s. I'm sending this comment to the Unorthordox Jew to make sure this message gets widely disseminated.

Thinking Jew said...

Anyone who supports the convict loses their name by me. Weberman is a piece of drek, and even operating without a license is dead wrong.