By NATALIE O’NEILL, AARON FEIS and PEDRO OLIVEIRA JR. (NY Daily News)
December 1, 2012
What a bunch of shmucks.
Members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community lashed out yesterday at the gang of creeps who allegedly tried to intimidate a young sex-abuse accuser by snapping her picture in court as she testified against a powerful Hasidic leader.
“This was done to deteriorate the victim again, to make sure there is a mistrial,” fumed Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, who has been following the trial of Nechemya Weberman, the unlicensed counselor accused of abusing the teen starting when she was 12.
Three ultra-Orthodox Jews — Lemon Juice, 30, Joseph Fried, 23, and Yona Weisman, 23 — who were arrested Thursday, were arraigned late last night on criminal-contempt charges for allegedly snapping iPhone pictures of the now-17-year-old as she testified. They were released on $2,500 bail and declined to comment.
The charges against Abraham Zupnick, 23, who was also arrested Thursday, were dropped.
The men, all members of the insular Satmar sect of Williamburg’s Hasidic Jewish community, were nabbed after a picture of the girl surfaced on Twitter.
“It’s about intimidation,” blasted Marcos Masri, 29, a Williamsburg resident who knows Fried personally. “In the community, she’s a betrayer — that’s how they see it.”
Several community members said the gangland scare tactics are common in the Satmar sect, where Hasidic Jews face constant scrutiny from leaders.
“He’s the kind of guy who, if you’re carrying shopping bags on the Shabbat, he’ll come up and yell at you,” Rosenberg said of Fried, a fervent Weberman supporter.
Weisman is a known associate of Fried, sources said. Zupnick lives upstate and is also a staunch Weberman supporter, sources added.
Meanwhile, the fourth suspect, Juice — who a pal said had his name legally changed because he is “eccentric” — is not a supporter of Weberman. It is not clear why he may have snapped a picture, people who know him admitted.
He even lost his job in a bakery for speaking out against the accused molester, sources said.
His sister, Chava Laufer, proclaimed her brother’s innocence.