BROOKLYN (PIX11) – An alternate juror dismissed from service in the molestation trial of 54-year old Nechemya Weberman told PIX 11 Friday convicting the former counselor could be difficult, because there’s “no concrete evidence.”
The former juror, a white man in his 30’s who didn’t want to be identified, said he found the 17-year old witness “credible” when she took the stand and said Weberman had sexually abused her from age 12 through 15. But the alternate said the case is a tough one, without forensic evidence.
The jury of eight women and four men started deliberating the case against Weberman Friday. The counselor is a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, who even had supporters hold a fundraiser for his legal expenses earlier this year.
Weberman took the witness stand in his own defense this week, saying he “never ever” touched the girl, who was sent to him for counseling, because she questioned the strict rules of Hasidic culture at her school.
The accuser, now 18, testified in graphic detail last week that she had no idea was sex was, when she first went to a counseling session in Weberman’s home office in 2007. She told the jury she performed oral sex on Weberman that first visit and, over the years, the abuse escalated to include some sexual intercourse.
At one point, the girl’s mother, Rachel K, testified she had protested when Weberman took her 12 year old daughter on a twelve hour trip upstate. Rachel K said Weberman threatened to stop working with the girl, so the mother wrote a letter of apology. The family paid Weberman $150 an hour for his services.
The jury was told not to consider testimony that Weberman took money from his not-for-profit organization to pay for his son’s tuition and lingerie.
Another young woman testified this week that she used to live in Weberman’s home office but didn’t rec all the office door having three locks on it.
The accuser testified Weberman forced her to watch pornographic videos on his computer. Her aunts claimed to reporters in the court hallway that Weberman used to drip wax on the girl’s body, resulting in some burns.
The judge reduced the number of criminal counts the jury will consider against Weberman from 88 to 60. At day’s end Friday, the jury requested a readback of testimony from the female social worker who testified the girl revealed the sexual abuse to her in February 2011.
An NYPD detective who interviewed the girl initially in the Special Victims’ Squad was faulted by the alternate juror for his handling of the case.
Deliberations resume on Monday.