Source: The Daily Beast
by Allison Yarrow
A young woman from Williamsburg’s tightly knit Satmar community breaks with it to stand by her allegation that a community elder raped her.
“He watched me when I was young. He always waited for me and said he knew I was going to come to him and he couldn’t wait for the day,” the pretty blonde 17-year-old testifies.
She remembers playing with neighborhood kids outside Nechemya Weberman’s house from the time she was a little girl. It was when she was in sixth grade, in 2007, that she says she began to struggle with the strict rules of the ultra-religious Satmar community of Hasidic Jews she was raised in. She says teachers chastised her for questioning God’s existence and for inquiring about the world beyond the enclave’s Williamsburg, Brooklyn, streets—seemingly centuries apart from the hipsters just blocks away.
Weberman, now 54 and a pillar of the community and onetime business partner of her father’s, seemed a natural choice to advise the floundering girl. Counseling of teens deemed troubled is common in the predominantly Yiddish-speaking neighborhood that is lined with Yeshiva schools, synagogues, and kosher shops.
Now the unlicensed therapist is charged with 88 counts of sexual assault of a minor, the girl who turns 18 this week, and whom he counseled for about three years beginning when she was 12. “He was a God” within the community, the teen said of Weberman while testifying against him last week, while she was “a piece of dirt.” The abuse, she alleges, began in 2007, when she was in the sixth grade, and lasted through 2010.
Weberman has pleaded not guilty and emphatically denied the charges. His defense council maintains that the allegations have hindered his ability to earn a living, and that he deserves the full benefit of the judicial process.
“This is a case that is going to be tried in that courtroom. There will be no holds barred. Everything is going to come out,” his defense attorney George Farkas told CBS News.
With reported abuses in so many closedly knitted communities, it is time for the victims to objectively review their faith and their leaders and ask themselves whether their faith and their leaders are serving the desired objectitve of establishing a close relationship with God. We pray for the victims that God helps them overcome these ordeals and we request the victims to pray to God so that He Himself guide them to the straight path to Him!