Orthodox Jewish School Pressured Mom To Apologize To "Therapist" Accused Of Sexually Abusing Her Daughter
By John Del Signore (Gotahmist)
December 4, 2012
More disturbing details have emerged from the trial of Nechemya Weberman, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor accused of sexually abusing a teen girl in Brooklyn for years. Yesterday the girl's mother took the stand, and told the jury how United Talmudical Academy administrators pressured her into sending her daughter to counseling with Weberman, who is not a licensed therapist. During the sessions, prosecutors say Weberman repeatedly showed her pornography and then made her reenact the sex acts.
Testifying yesterday, the mother said, “The school gave her a hard time and said she was a [heretic]. They wanted to make sure that I would send [her] to Weberman." She claims the choice was simple: either turn her daughter over to Weberman for regular counseling, or find another place for her to go to school. The alleged victim's mother also says the United Talmudical Academy forced her to pay Weberman $12,800 in advance.
If you've been following along with this trial, you won't be surprised to hear that it gets worse. According to the mother's testimony, Weberman at one point told the family he would be taking the teen on a daylong roadtrip. When the mother protested that this violated religious rules prohibiting unmarried men and women from spending time alone together, the school ordered the family to comply. The girl went on the trip, and the mother says she was compelled to write a letter of apology to Weberman.
The unidentified teen says Weberman's sexual abuse started in 2007, when she was 12. But despite the severity of the allegations, the South Williamsburg neighborhood has rallied around Weberman, who is still widely viewed as a pillar of the community. After finally reporting the abuse, some members of the community have screamed "moser, moser," at the teen, which is a Yiddish term for a Jew who reports another Jew to secular authorities. And several men were arrested last week for taking photos of the victim in the courtroom and posting them online.
For more, The Daily Beast has this disturbing account from the victim's testimony. Apparently, the teen's secret boyfriend was arrested for statutory rape after she confided in Weberman about the relationship during her counseling sessions:
In the spring of 2009, the teen met Jeremy Solomon, a young man a few years older than her who worked behind a counter at a neighborhood shop where she stopped to buy her lunch. Dating is forbidden in Satmar culture, and women aren’t supposed to learn about sex until just before their wedding day, when a community-sanctioned authority schools them. Still, the two forged a romantic bond. She says she even confided in Weberman her feelings for Solomon during their sessions. “It wasn’t just touching,” she says of the sessions with Weberman. “We did discuss other things.”
In April 2010 Solomon was arrested. The teen says she learned this when she sent him a Facebook message, and his attorney replied. She testifies that she blames her father for hiding a camera in her bedroom, taping her and the young man having sex, and then reporting her boyfriend to the authorities—leading to his arrest for statutory rape. Prosecutors have said that they have seen the tape, and while the charges against the boyfriend filed after her father, accompanied by Weberman, visited the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, were eventually dropped, the young couple was forcibly separated for months.
It wasn’t until later—after Weberman drove her to the attorney’s office to see Solomon—that she says she came to believe that her family friend and counselor had been involved in the making of the film and Solomon’s arrest.