By Oren Yaniv (NY Daily News)
June 14, 2012
A scheduled trial for a Hasidic counselor accused of molesting a teenage girl was postponed Thursday because of procedural hurdles — which critics slammed as stalling tactics by the defense.
Lawyers for Nechemya Weberman, 53, said a yeshiva that the accuser attended has yet to respond to a subpoena requesting records, prompting a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge to authorize a contempt proceeding against the Williamsburg school.
Defense attorneys also indicated they're contemplating a change of venue motion. They will likely argue that recent publications on the district attorney's handling of sex abuse cases involving Orthodox Jews has tainted the jury pool, sources said.
But such requests are almost never granted, according to legal experts.
"They think that if they stall long enough, the pressure will get to the victim," Joel Engelman, an advocate for abuse victims, said of the defense team.
He noted that the non-cooperative Satmar yeshiva, United Talmudic Academy, is affiliated with Weberman, who was arrested on February 2011.
Defense lawyer George Farkas said any motion is meant to properly represent his client.
"If there is any fairness or justice in this world, this man is going to be exonerated," he declared.
The now 17-year-old girl claimed Weberman forced her to perform sex acts starting when she was 12 after her school referred her to him for counseling.
"My understanding is that they're still steadfast," Engelman said of her family. "But they're under enormous pressure."
Alleged victims in the insular, ultra-Orthodox community are routinely subjected to repercussions and threats, prosecutors and advocates have said.
The contentious case pitted supporters and detractors of Weberman last month when a fundraiser for his legal fees was met with protesters.
The case is now scheduled to July 18 for a decision on the defense motions.