NEW YORK (CBSNEWYORK/AP) – The Brooklyn sex abuse trial has been postponed for a spiritual adviser accused of molesting a teenage girl for years.
Nechemya Weberman has pleaded not guilty to committing a criminal sex act, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse. His lawyer George Farkas has said his client has counseled people in his Hasidic Jewish community for years and is in no way capable of abusing the girl.
The girl, now 17, says she was abused for nearly three years starting in 2007.
The trial was postponed Thursday because of outstanding legal issues and a hearing was set for July 18.
The girl’s family says they have been ostracized while the 53-year-old Weberman has been embraced. The case highlights beliefs in the insular Brooklyn community that problems should be dealt with from within, and elders have more authority than the young.
Joel Engelman, a victims advocate, believes the trial delay could be a tactic by the defense to drag out the case and put pressure on the family to possibly deter them from testifying.
“The sooner justice can be served, the better the outcome for the justice for victims will be,”Engelman said. “The family is very steadfast in going forward although they are receiving enormous amounts of pressure, intimidation and threats, they are very much going forward with this case.”
The case recently made headlines after posters in Hebrew urging support for Weberman were put up in Williamsburg.
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