Jury finds Nechemya Weberman, Satmar Hasidic leader, guilty of molesting teenage girl he was paid to counsel - GUILTY 59 TIMES!
Weberman is facing a maximum of 25 years on prison of the top count alone, prolonged sexual conduct against a child - GUILTY 59 TIMES!!!
A Brooklyn jury found Nechemya Weberman - a prominent figure in the Satmar Hasidic community - guilty Monday of sexually abusing a rebellious young girl he was paid to counsel.
Weberman was convicted on one count of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree, 12 counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, two counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree, 18 counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, 25 counts of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The top count of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. He faces a total of 117 years. Weberman was remanded and he will be sentenced before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram on January 9 at 10:00 AM.
The verdict came after an explosive two-week trial, where customs of the strict Williamsburg-based sect were aired in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
He is facing a maximum of 25 years on prison of the top count alone, prolonged sexual conduct against a child.
The main evidence against the 54-year-old counselor was testimony from the victim, who turned 18 last week. During four brutal days of testimony and cross-examination, the striking young woman recounted how she was forced to perform oral sex and reenact porn scenes during closed-door counseling sessions that started in 2007, when she was 12.
Her yeshiva referred her to Weberman because she flouted her sect's strict modesty rules and asked probing questions about the existence of God.
But instead of guidance, she was molested at every opportunity.
"I wanted to die," she testified of her torment.
Prosecutors offered no physical evidence of the sexual activity that took place inside Weberman's home office, which the trial revealed had been a flop house for other wayward teenage girls.
The counselor took the stand in his own defense, insisting he "never ever" inappropriately touched the teen. But he was forced to acknowledge that funds from his charity were used to pay for his kids' tuition and buy lingerie.
The defense team claimed the victim's accusations were fueled by revenge, after Weberman teamed up with her father to film her in bed with a former boyfriend - then used the footage to get the boyfriend arrested for statutory rape.
That case was dropped shortly before she made her complaint against Weberman.
The high-profile case was rocked by allegations that Weberman and his henchmen tried to intimidate the accuser. Then during the trial, three men illegally snapped her photo while she was on the witness stand, and it ended up being posted online.
The sordid, soap opera-like revelations in court rocked the insular Satmar Sect, which derives its practices from a strict interpretation of Judaism. The trial was also a major challenge to Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who came under criticism for his handling of sex abuse cases in the Orthodox Jewish community