By Josh Saul (NY Post)
December 4, 2012
If she stopped seeing her alleged abuser, she would have been expelled from school.
The mother of a teenage Brooklyn girl who was allegedly sexually abused by a prominent Hasidic leader testified yesterday that she was forced by her daughter’s yeshiva to send the girl to the man for counseling — and even had to pay for the dubious privilege.
Nechemya Weberman, 54, allegedly abused the girl during their frequent counseling sessions beginning when she was just 12 years old, prosecutors charge.
“The school gave her a hard time and said she was ‘apikoros,’ ” a Hebrew and Greek word that means heretic, the mother testified in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
When asked the repercussion of not sending her youngest daughter to Weberman, she answered in halting English, “They wouldn’t accept her. They wouldn’t allow her to go to school.”
United Talmudical Academy administrators even required the family to pay Weberman $12,800 in advance — before the teen started eighth grade, the mother testified.
“They wanted to make sure that I would send [her] to Weberman,” said the 53-year-old mother of seven, who covers her hair per Orthodox requirements and has worked as a Mary Kay cosmetician for 21 years.
The South Williamsburg school referred questions to its attorney, who did not return requests for comment.
Now entering its second week, the Weberman trial has provided a rare glimpse into the clandestine world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism in general, and the Brooklyn Satmar sect in particular.
One story the mother told illustrated the power the school held over her daughter, now 17. When Weberman announced he was taking the teen on a daylong drive, her mother protested, citing “Yichud,” the religious rules that prevent unmarried men and women from being alone together.
But again, the school stepped in and ordered the family to go along with Weberman, she testified.
“I had no other choice,” said the mom, who explained that the school even made her write Weberman to say she was sorry for disagreeing with him. “I had to write him an apology letter.”
The teen’s mother also described the harassment her family faced after her daughter reported the alleged abuse.
“They would scream at him ‘moser, moser!” a Yiddish term for a Jew who reports another Jew to secular authorities, the teen’s mother said. Her 5-year-old granddaughter was also barred from beginning school.
Much of the Satmar community still stands behind Weberman. Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum, one of the Satmar sect’s two top leaders, spoke out against the teen at a fundraiser this weekend.
“If you keep up with what’s happening in [Williamsburg], it is frightening. A Jewish daughter has sunk so low, it is terrible.” he said, according to sources who attended the fundraiser.