November 27, 2012
It was an emotional and dramatic showdown in court.
A young woman faced a prominent member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community whom she accuses of molesting her as a child.
The tightly knit Hasidic community is now bitterly divided over this case.
Prosecutors say Nechemya Weberman victimized the girl for three years, beginning when she was 12.
It allegedly took place an office next door to his Williamsburg apartment, where she claims Weberman undressed her, sexually abused her and forced her to perform oral sex.
"Saying 'stop' didn't seem to work," she told the jury, "I froze. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to respond, I didn't know how to fight back. My whole body went numb."
Weberman is a prominent member of Brooklyn's ultra-orthodox Satmar community.
He was hired by the girl's family to counsel their rebellious daughter.
They met for four hours a day and as many as four times a week.
"He said, 'I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm not doing anything you don't want me to do,'" she said. Yet she told no one for years.
"Why not?" asked the prosecutor.
"I was scared," she answered.
Many in the community support Weberman and raised money for his defense.
They insist he's being framed by a girl who despises ultra-Orthodox Judaism.
Her supporters say that's outrageous.
"She should be treated as a heroine!" said Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, the alleged victim's supporter.