(Brooklyn, New York) — The anguished mother of an Orthodox Jewish girl who’s accused her former counselor of repeated molestation spoke exclusively to PIX 11, as the case got set to go to the jury.
“I cry. I want to kill myself,” Rachel K. told PIX 11, “how can I be so blind?”
The youngest of Rachel K’s seven children testified before a Brooklyn jury last week that counselor Nechemya Weberman, a father of ten, started undressing her and asking for oral sex in his home office in Williamsburg, beginning when she was just 12 years old. She claimed the abuse went on for three years and escalated to include a form of sexual intercourse.
The principal at the girl’s school in Williamsburg had received word that she wasn’t dressing modestly enough, complaining about the thick tights Satmar Hasidic girls are required to wear. Her parents chose Weberman, the principal’s cousin, to work with the pre-teen, so she wouldn’t be expelled ftom Bais Rachel School, part of the United Talmudical Academy.
The girl’s family said it paid Weberman $150 an hour, but Rachel K. balked when Weberman took the 12 year old on an all-day trip upstate. When the mom expressed concern, she told PIX Weberman threatened to stop working with the child. “So then I said okay, I’ll write him an apology letter.”
The defense and prosecution teams presented closing arguments Thursday, in a case that blew the lid open on dealings in the insular, Satmar Hasidic community.
The defense said the accuser, now 18, had motives to lie. Sandra Richman, who handled summations for the defense, said the girl fell in love with an older teen and blamed Weberman and her father for the boy’s later arrest on statutory rape charges. There was also a business dispute involving Weberman and the girl’s sister.
Richman pointed out the prosecution didn’t even put the NYPD detective who handled the initial case on the witness stand and didn’t offer proof that Weberman made the girl watch pornographic movies. “There’s no forensic examination of any computer,” Richman said. “There’s no looking for blood, semen or saliva. And hey, we’ve all seen CSI (referring to the TV show). DNA lasts forever.”
Richman noted the girl had always been a vocal student who never hesitated to speak her mind. “This is a girl who never had a problem complaining about anything she didn’t like….this is not someone that’s going to let someone touch her and not say anything.”
One of the accuser’s aunts, Goldy Gold, said she, too, was molested by a religious figure in the community, when she was only 11 years old, but that she kept going back to see the man “because he was nice.” She explained that Satmar girls are never told anything about sex, until a week before their arranged marriages. Gold said of her niece’s testimony, “What happened to me never came out. She’s liberating me from my trauma.”
The prosecution presented closing arguments Thursday afternoon, reminding the jury about a frmake counselor who testified the girl was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Prosecutors noted that Weberman had three locks on the door of his home office and that other, troubled girls even lived in the office. “The defendant is anything but a pious man,” the District Attorney’s office said. “He gained her trust and he abused the relationship, kissing her, undressing her … and when she asked him to stop, he said I’m not doing anything wrong.”
The accuser is now 17. Her mother Rachel said Thursday that by coming forward, “It’s like she broke a world record.”
The jury gets the case Friday morning and will consider 88 criminal counts against Weberman that stretch over a three year period.