Teen Accusing Orthodox Jewish Leader Of Sex Abuse Testifies ‘I Wanted To Die’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teen alleging a prominent member of Brooklyn’s Satmar community sexually abused her over three years took the stand Tuesday to describe her alleged ordeal.
In a quiet, controlled voice, the now-married 17-year-old said she endured years of abuse at the hands of 54-year-old Nechemya Weberman.
The teen’s father had taken her to Weberman for counseling because he thought she had a boyfriend, which was prohibited in the community, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa Reports
However, the teen claimed the counseling turned into undressing, touching and other sexual contact.
The teen told a packed courtroom that from her first meeting with Weberman in an office next to his Clinton Hill apartment, the much-respected Orthodox Jewish leader sexually abused her.
“He proceeded to kiss me. He touched me…I yelled for him to stop. He said, ‘You see, if you yell stop, I stop. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not doing anything you don’t want me to do,’” the victim said Tuesday.
But moments later, she said Weberman continued to molest her.
“Saying stop didn’t seem to work….I didn’t know how to fight back. I was numb,” the teen said.
In fact, she said it happened every time they met from 2007 — when she was 12 — through 2010.
The accuser said that Weberman would triple lock his door before the abuse, which allegedly took place twice a week for the three years.
At one point, the teen said she stopped eating for three days. The accuser said she was so depressed she couldn’t even talk to Weberman.
The teen also described another incident in which she claimed Weberman came to her home.
“He got into bed with me and I wanted to die,” the teen stated in court.
She said she eventually was able to tell a school counselor what was taking place.
Most of the packed courtroom was made up of the accuser’s supporters, including her aunt and uncle.
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have your abuser face justice,” Ari Rubenstein, the alleged victim’s uncle, told CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey.
“I’m really proud of her. I really am,” said the alleged victim’s aunt, Gitty Goldman.
WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell With More On The Story
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, who heads “Project Y.E.S.,” which looks to challenge those who punish Orthodox members who report abuse to civil authorities, said many are supporting the young woman.
“There are thousands and thousands, maybe tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews worldwide who are standing with her,” Horowitz said.
Weberman has pleaded not guilty to charges of committing a criminal sex act, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse.
Lawyers for Weberman have argued that the allegations being brought against their client are false.
“This is a case that is going to be tried in that courtroom. It will be no-holds barred. Everything is going to come out,” said defense attorney George Farkas.
Weberman is expected to testify in his own defense later in the week.
Earlier this year, a controversial fundraiser was held in the Hasidic community to raise Weberman’s legal funds. However, on Tuesday, Weberman’s only visible support were his sisters and lawyers.
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