By RYAN SIT
A 17-year-old girl took the stand in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Tuesday, where she accused her ultra-orthodox Jewish counselor of sexually abusing her for three years.
The abuse began with her first therapy session with Nechemya Weberman when she was 12 years old, the prosecution alleged.
“The last thing I remember from that night is him touching my [genitals],” she testified. “My body just froze. I didn’t know how to fight back. I was numb.”
Weberman stands charged with 88 counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
The girl said she was made to see Weberman, 54, after problems developed at home and at The United Talmudical Academy in Brooklyn, the yeshiva she attended. She grew up practicing Satmar, a sect of Hasidic Judaism which is characterized by “extremely modesty,” she said, and which prohibited asking certain questions.
She testified that she was sent to the principal’s office for asking questions like, “How do you know God exists?S” and sent home for dress code violations, ranging from skirt length to stocking thickness.
After her school and family found out that she had been texting with her 16-year-old neighbor, a boy, she was brought to Weberman’s office for counseling at 263 Classon Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
With a green stress ball mashed in her hand, the blonde girl testified about the three-year span of abuses that began from her first visit. From March 2007 to March 2010 the prosecution alleges that the girl attended counseling two to four times a week, and was sexually abused at every session. The abuse ranged from groping and kissing to oral sex.
Court officers routinely had to stifle the whispering audience, comprised mostly of the girl’s supporters. “The truth is shining through,” said the girl’s aunt, Goldie Gold, to her niece, outside the court room.
The girl’s testimony did not appear to lose traction during the cross-examination by Michael Farkas, the defendant’s lawyer, as he attempted to expose inconsistencies between her testimony and her statement in the original police report from Feb. 16, 2011.
Outside the court room family and friends of the girl accused Farkas of trying to confuse the jury.
Farkas portrayed his client as “the first person who actually listened” to the girl’s questions about religion.
The witness conceded that point, saying, “It wasn’t just touching. We did discuss other things.”
The defense has argued that the girl was inventing the abuse story to avenge Weberman for allegedly telling her father about a boyfriend she had when she was 15.
Over the years the accuser reportedly has faced stiff pressure from the insular Hasidic community to drop the charges. Even her parents, fearing ostracism, were said to have pressured her to keep mum about it. But published reports recently depict the parents turning down a $500,000 bribe to buy silence.
The defense’s cross-examination was set to resume at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Photo: Defendant Weberman
Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 12/02/2012
Another News Outfit Picks Up Weberman Story
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg