Alleged Orthodox Sex Abuser May Have Defrauded Charity To Buy Lingerie

weberman2

By Ben Yakas (Gothamist)
December 6, 2012

In the latest round of testimonies at the trial of Nechemya Weberman—the ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor accused of sexually abusing a teen girl in Brooklyn for years—Weberman himself took the stand. He was adamant that he "never ever" inappropriately touched the alleged victim, who saw him for counseling multiple times a week for a three year period starting when she was 12. But he did admit to defrauding his own charity.

Weberman admitted on the stand to using money from his nonprofit organization, B’lev V’Nefesh, to pay for his own child’s tuition at the United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg, the same school which insisted to the victim's parents that the teen meet with Weberman for counseling or else leave the school. “So you’re getting a salary and paying your children’s tuition?” asked Assistant District Attorney Kevin O’Donnell. “I did if I needed to,” Weberman replied. Weberman, who called himself a "rabbinical counselor" despite no training, said the non-profit was used to raise money for those who can’t afford his services.

But prosecutors brought up the fact that financial records show that the charity’s credit cards were used at BMG Corset & Lingerie, The Lingerie Shop and other undergarment stores. “Me, myself, I’m not aware of this,” Weberman claimed. “This is the first time I heard about it.” Weberman also described his first meeting with the teen: “She said, ‘Why should I trust you? Why should I talk to you? You look like a Hasidic f--k. You look like my father,’ ” Weberman testified.

Weberman actually went out of his way to besmirch the teen, saying at one point, “There are people who are better than her, right." As for why he felt that way, he said the alleged victim was “fresh’’ and “immodest’’ unlike other girls: “That’s why these were girls who were better than her.’’

Besides Weberman, who has 10 children and 18 grandchildren, there was also testimony from Baila Gluck, a runaway who lived in Weberman’s office for two years. She said that two other girls stayed at the home around the same time; one of them told authorities she caught Weberman and Gluck in a compromising position, a charge she denied. “Do you recall an occasion when [another girl] walked into the room and you were sitting on his lap and the defendant had an erection?” O’Donnell asked. “No. That never happened,” Gluck answered.

Weberman was the defense's last witness; today both sides got the chance to sum up their arguments. The Daily News wrote that the courtroom had started to resemble nightclub with all the people trying to get in and watch. One of those nightclubbers was Andrea Peyser, who gave her typically reasonable two cents about the "slimy bastard" Weberman: "The accuser, who turned 18 yesterday, had the grave misfortune of loving and revering this human piece of filth...I’m ashamed to be of the same faith as this evil, malicious creep."