By Lisa Evers (Fox 5 News)
June 21, 2012
Four men from an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn are accused of trying to prevent a sex crime victim and a key witness from taking the stand.
Law enforcement sources said one of the alleged incidents happened at a kosher restaurant that is now shut down.
Abraham Rubin, 48, was taken into the courtroom in handcuffs. He was arraigned on felony bribery and witness tampering charges. Prosecutors say he offered a child sex abuse victim and her boyfriend half a million dollars to make the case go away.
The case was brought against a prominent figure, counselor Nechemya Weberman.
The district attorney says the victim was taken to him for counseling when she was just 12 years old but instead she was subjected to 3 years of sexual abuse.
Dozens of members of the Satmar religious community, some hiding their faces, turned out to support Rubin and three brothers also facing charges.
Hertzka, Jacob and Joseph Berger allegedly tried to convince the victim and her witness boyfriend not to cooperate.
The D.A. says they tore down the kosher certification from the boyfriend's Williamsburg restaurant.
All four suspects pleaded not guilty.
The sexual abuse case against Weberman has rocked this insular community. It also prompted criticism that sexual abuse crimes, especially against children, were not aggressively prosecuted.
But now the NYPD is part of a special task force.
All four suspects made bail.
Rubin is looking at up to 7 years behind bars if convicted.
The sex abuse case against the prominent counselor is moving forward, and the trial is expected to start in July.