By Josh Saul (NY Post)
January 23, 2013
The Brooklyn teen sadistically abused by her Hasidic counselor from the time she was 12 smiled through her tears yesterday — as the perverted monster was sentenced to 103 years behind bars.
Pedophile Nechemya Weberman, 54, showed no emotion when he heard the judge pronounce his virtual life sentence for repeatedly molesting the girl for more than three years in his locked counseling office.
But his victim, now 18, showed how glad she was, smiling outside court minutes after tearfully recounting to the judge how the Williamsburg counselor had abused her.
“I clearly remember how I would look in the mirror and see a person I didn’t recognize. I saw a girl who didn’t want to live in her own skin,” the brave victim said, weeping, before Weberman’s sentencing in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
“[I saw] a sad girl who wished so badly she could have lived a normal teenage life but instead was stuck being victimized by a 50-year-old man who forced her to perform sickening acts for his sick sense of pleasure again and again.”
After the unlicensed Weberman was convicted last year, the victim told The Post how he got off by burning her stomach with a lighter.
“I would cover up the burn marks inflicted on the body he used to serve his sadistic pleasures,” she told the judge yesterday, speaking for about five minutes in the silent courtroom.
“Every time I would look at it, I would get flashbacks and feel my body burning all over again. I would cry until my tears ran dry.”
A jury last month found the bearded child molester guilty on all 59 counts. Weberman, a married father of 10 children and grandfather of 19, had sat in jail since then awaiting sentencing. The maximum sentence he could have received was 117 years.
The victim was abused from 2007 to 2010, when she finally reported the crime.
“Now when I look in the mirror and see my reflection, when I look at my body and see the burns, I can finally look and see past the pain. I can look and see some justice,” the teen said in court.
“I can proudly say that even though I have suffered so much as a young girl, I somehow came out as a strong woman.”
The trial provided a rare glimpse into the insular world of Brooklyn Hasidism and the cloistered Satmar sect.
The girl’s parents were forced by her school to send their daughter to Weberman for counseling after she failed to dress according to Satmar standards of modesty.
Witnesses told a riveted courtroom about Satmar practices such as invoking masked modesty squads to enforce religious law and back up powerful schools that made students attend unlicensed counselors such as Weberman.
His two-week trial tore apart the private sect, pitting Weberman’s fierce loyalists against the victim’s supporters. Even after justice was handed down, members of the community in Williamsburg remained unconvinced.
“He’s really not guilty. She is a sinful girl. When she was 12, she was a bum,” Satmar member Gitty Rosenberg, 49, said yesterday.
The victim watched her abuser receive his punishment from the front row of the courtroom. Her young husband put his arm around her as she dabbed her eyes and nose with a white tissue.
For the first time, she left behind the green rubber stress ball that she had squeezed nervously during days of grueling cross-examination.
“He definitely won’t be able to hurt anyone else,” her husband said after the sentencing.
Weberman’s team of lawyers said they would appeal his case.
The defense team had argued that the victim falsely accused Weberman in retaliation for a bizarre incident in which he and her father secretly filmed her having sex with her boyfriend, a claim barred from trial.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Rosenberg