A Satmar counsellor has been found guilty of 59 counts of sexual abuse of a young girl in a case that has caused outrage in his Brooklyn community.
Nechemya Weberman, 54, was found guilty on Monday of a three-year-long abuse of a girl, which began when she was 12 years old. The girl had been sent to him for religious counselling because she was deemed “rebellious” by her Orthodox school.
The girl was forced to perform sexual acts by Weberman and to watch pornography and then “copy what was in the porn”.
The Satmar community has responded with hostility to the trial. Many were angry to see a prominent member of the community tried in a secular court, rather than a rabbinical court, the New York Daily News reported.
Joel Weinstock, 31, a close family friend of Weberman, complained to the Daily News: “How did the jury listen to someone who hates the community so much? The people in this community are so hurt.”
The victim, now 18, married and no longer a member of the community, said she cried tears of joy at the news of the verdict.
At least one other alleged victim of Weberman, who was a counsellor to many young Satmar members, is known to the authorities, but has so far refused to press charges.
Weberman will be sentenced on January 9 and faces up to 117 years in jail. He is expected to appeal.