Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Brooklyn criminal courtroom resembles nightclub as members of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish sect show up to support Nechemya Weberman

Weberman aka THE ANIMAL in court today

Weberman took the stand to defend himself against charges that he sexually molested a beautiful Satmar teenager while he was supposed to be her therapist. Lubavitcher and Modern Orthodox Jews showed up to support the woman, sequestered in another room, quietly celebrating, if you could call it that, her 18th birthday.

With a costumed crowd pressing against velvet ropes begging to be let in, the Brooklyn criminal courtroom resembled a nightclub Wednesday.

The iconoclastic garb of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish sect was unmistakable as members showed up to support Nechemya Weberman when he took the stand to defend himself against charges that he sexually molested a beautiful Satmar teenager while he was supposed to be her therapist. Lubavitcher and Modern Orthodox Jews showed up to support the woman, sequestered in another room, quietly celebrating, if you could call it that, her 18th birthday.

Ladies in wigs and hats, with long skirts and arms and legs covered, sat apart from the men in dark suits, wearing yarmulkes, their hair in forelocks, as the jury as diverse as Brooklyn itself stared out over the insular community and got a lesson in Hasidism 101 from the testimony.

Like the fact that what you wear is no joke, as the alleged victim found out when she began to break the dress code with short skirts and sheer tights, and when she began to share pop songs like “Love Can Kill You” and sneak off to Hollywood movies.

The recalcitrant teen had come to the attention of an internal committee of men called the Va’ad Hatznius, which helps enforce modesty rules — among 613 commandments Satmar members believe must be followed.

According to the testimony of another young woman who'd taken the stand Wednesday morning, you don't want to mess with Va’ad Hatznius.

“Isn't it true that masked individuals came into your bedroom in the middle of the night and seized your cell phone?” no-nonsense prosecutor Kevin O'Donnell asked Baila Gluck. “And that this is the type of action Va’ad Hatznius takes when Satmar don't follow the rules? And wasn't it traumatic for you?” Yes. Yes. And yes.

But it was nothing like the trauma Weberman's accuser said she suffered as he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex and recreate scenes from porn movies. She had been ordered by her religious school's principal, Weberman's cousin, to go to Weberman for therapy, which he had no license to provide. And her parents were forced to pay for it.

If she didn't get therapy, she would be thrown out of the school, Weberman admitted. Though Weberman adamantly denied ever molesting her, the girl says the abuse went on for three years.

A young Satmar woman dressed modestly but wearing green nail polish against her husband's wishes told the Daily News, “I don't have time to come here, but I'm compelled to listen for myself. I need to know the truth.”

The victim of molestation for five years as a child, Debbie Teller set up the website adkanenough.com — Enough is Enough — to post names of sex offenders in the Orthodox community worldwide. Since the Weberman trial began, her site’s visitors have spiked by the thousands.

Sex abuse isn't greater within the Hasidic community than outside, said social worker Carole Sher, who helps run the SOURI Hotline, Support Orthodox Victims of Rape and Incest.

But there's been a lot of covering up in the past. But now with more receptive rabbis and greater communication, that's changing.”

The Brooklyn jury learned that if a Jewish person reported another Jewish person to the police, they would be labeled a “moser” — informer — and ostracized as strongly as a Mob rat.

With the Internet, the thin black line of silence in the religious community has been erased, agreed Joey DiAngello, perhaps one of the most colorful people attending the trial.

Born Yoel Deutsch into the Satmar sect 32 years ago, DiAngello, a heavy-metal drummer with Slayer and Iron Maiden tatoos on his arms, told The News he was raped at the age of seven in a mikvah, or public bath. He's set up the Facebook pages War on Vaad Hatznius and Survivors for Justice.

“I've gotten tweets from people calling me a self-hating Jew, but I really want to help Jewish kids in the same situation I was in,” he says. “It's like metal. I have something to say, and if you don't like it, I'll turn it up even louder.”


I was a frum innocent little girl just like your daughter


 I really want this blog to be a healing happy place for myself and whoever is reading which is why I am hesistant to post what this woman wrote but I want to give myself a voice and a chance to fight back against society’s perception of what I went through. So I am going to post what this woman wrote and I know it is a painful thing to read. I got so angry and sad when I read it. I just have to remember that she is saying this stuff from a naive, uneducated and lucky place. I don’t think she is intentionally being cruel. I’m sorry if this is going to cause anyone undue pain.

Leah’s words -“What I said is, A Weberman type WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ACCESS to my child. If I took my child to a therapist, it would be a WOMAN (and as you well know, women are very unlikely to sexually molest young girls), I would attend sessions with my daughter/wait outside, etc. Therefore, I don’t think THIS TYPE OF ABUSE would happen to my family. Plus I have told my daughter about sickos and she knows to tell me if an adult, even a teacher, does something inappropriate. I think the parents here made many mistakes, and bear responsibility for putting their child in danger. And no, I don’t believe that Satmar-type communities are filled with dopes. I suspect that there was something very wrong/off with this particular family, and that is one reason Weberman preyed on the kid.”

Everything you said is the exact reason how so many children are getting abused. I hope you said what you did because of a lack of knowledge not of sensitivity. Everybody thinks that a ‘weberman’ has no access to their child. I can’t even describe to you the pain I feel upon reading that. You are condemning all parents of abused children. You can’t imagine the grief, self-blame and blinding pain that parents of abused children go through. I want to clarify so you can be aware and have a clearer picture of how the majority of abuse in the frum community actually happens. I also want to clarify so that people who think the way you presently do can understand how the parents of abused children love, care and protect their children just as much as you do if not more. They are not bad parents. Quite the opposite.

I was a frum innocent little girl. Just like your daughter. I was the oldest in my family. I was adored. I said Modeh Ani every morning twice. Once when I woke up and once in school. I was that happy to be awake every day. My teachers loved me I had friends and I was always happy. My parents were the center of my existence. They adored me. I was their pride and joy. And if you love something, you protect it with your life. If you would have asked my mother years ago she would have definitely agreed with you and maybe have even be more condemning of the parents of ‘Off The Derech’ children. Whispering questions like how could their parents have let this happen while shooting dark glances in their direction. She was and still is the pinnacle of a concerned and slightly overprotective mother.

 I got countless speeches about the sick people in the world and how I should come right to my mother if anyone says or does anything remotely inappropriate. She defined clearly from a very young age how important it is to be open and honest with her about these things. She was crazy protective. She never let me go to my friends houses unless she knew the family extremely well. I remember throwing tantrums about how everyone is having a sleepover by a certain girls house and my mother refused to let me go because something about the girls older brother was weird. My mother insisted on walking me to and from my bus stop everyday even when I was old enough to be embarrassed by it. She stayed in the doctors room by my yearly checkups even when I was begging her to leave.

 Every time we went shopping she would grip my hand the entire time and not let go until I was back in the car. Once I got distracted by something pretty in a shop we were in and let go of her hand to get a better look at it. When I found her two minutes later (not more) she was speaking to the security guard with tears in her eyes about shutting down the store until I was found. I was like ‘Ma what are you doing? I’m ten years old – I was right behind you’ and she just hugged me for way too long. I remember being so embarrassed because I was way too old to be seen hugging my mother in public. I was never allowed around any males alone, EVER. Not even my cousins. I used to think she was paranoid but now I know I would do the same for my daughter.

I was sexually abused. Badly, for many years. It was by a female. My babysitter.

 We knew the family really well. This is why I didn’t tell my mother. One night before all this started I walked passed my parents room and I heard my mother crying so I stopped and listened in the way that little girls do, she was on the phone to a friend of hers and she was crying because there was a playgroup that was found out to have been molesting children for years and another one of her close friends sons had went there years before. I so badly wanted to protect her from any sort of pain like she always did for me so when it happened the first time I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I loved her that much. After that I had already been victimized and predators know how to keep their victims under their control.

Read up on the psychology behind it. It is a rare phenomenon when a victim breaks the cycle. My head was put in a bath tub and held there until I nearly drowned and when it was taken out I was told that if I ever told anyone then she would do that to my little brother but she would keep his head in. I was old enough to understand the term ‘drown your baby brother and make it look like a mistake’. And yes I thought it might be a possibility that my parents could save me. But it wasn’t worth the risk. I loved my baby brother too much. To this day I wonder if she would’ve drowned him had I show any hesitation. I was just an eight year old girl protecting her family from a nightmare that was too painful to share. It wasn’t worth it.

I have tears streaming down my face as I write this. I can’t remember the last time I cried like this. I’m sobbing over this laptop. I have never ever spoken of any of this outside of therapy. Reading you proscribe my parents as bad parents has been singularly painful for me. There was nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘off’ about my family. Me and my younger siblings were the prettiest, best dressed, happiest little children you have ever seen. If you saw us on the street you would probably glance enviously at my perfect little family, with our bright blond hair, little dimples and bright blue eyes. My young parents were everyone’s idea of perfect. My father learned my Chumash homework with me every night. For years. Point is that people rarely have parents as good as mine are. Leah, If there is such a thing as a Parent Award, you, Leah would be the first to give it to them.

I’m not saying that it didn’t change anything, my perfect childhood outside of the abuse probably gave me the strength to get through this all. When as a teenager I finally told my parents what had happened it broke them as people, but as parents they pulled themselves together and have been here ever since helping me pick up the pieces of my shattered soul. I can honestly say if it wasn’t for their strength I, the little girl who once was exactly like your own little girl would be lying in a grave with the whole world wondering what had happened. Leah I truly hope you never need to know the inhumane amounts of courage and strength it takes people to accept and love their children despite all the anger, drugs, boys etc. I hope you never need to find out how identical you are as a mother to mine and how similar I once was to your own little girl.