By Ben Yakas (Gothamist)
December 5, 2012
The trial of Nechemya Weberman—the ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor accused of sexually abusing a teen girl in Brooklyn for years—has continued this week with testimony from the alleged victim's parents and administrators from her school. That included Benzion Feuerwerger, the principal of the girls school at United Talmudic Academy in Williamsburg, who testified about why the school insisted on the victim meeting Weberman: “Her modesty was not like the other girls’,” he said, referring to the fact the alleged victim sometimes went to class with the button of her blouse over her throat undone, and wore stockings that weren't thick enough.
Daily News reporter Oren Yaniv, who has been covering the case from the court room, tweeted, "she was a straight-A student but flunked modesty grades, which are given only to girls. True fact." Feuerwerger testified, "I asked that the parents should get outside help for counseling to explain that she has to come dressed like everybody else and behave like everybody else," DNAInfo reports.
He claimed the parents demanded Weberman, who is not a licensed therapist, but the victim's parents testified previously that the school gave them a choice between sending their daughter to Weberman, or being kicked out of the school. Feuerwerger added the school did demand the girl’s parents pay $12,800, mostly as an upfront fee for Weberman’s services, if they wanted their daughter to stay enrolled.
Feuerwerger was ambiguous about the school's relationship with Weberman (prosecutors said Weberman owed the school $73,000), but he was completely clear about his feelings for the counselor: "I know him personally, and for this reason I can say he is good." Social worker Sarah Fried also testified, recalling how the “very anxious” teen recounted her “trauma" to her in December 2010: “At the end of the session, she uttered the words ‘I was molested,' then ran out of the office.”
So far today, two women have testified for the defense saying they both lived with Weberman (they were described as teenage runaways), but they say no abuse took place, although Yaniv tweeted: "One woman, who lived at the home office for two years denied being caught by another girl sitting on Weberman lap on time...she also denied telling that girl this year 'I had to do what I had to do to get by.' I expect the other girl to be called for rebuttal." Weberman is currently testifying as well: so far, he's stated he "never ever" touched the teen inappropriately.