Weberman trial: How do we know victim is telling truth?

By Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn (Da'as Torah blog)
December 10, 2012

Guest Post: This is a letter I just received and serves as a response to Rabbi Kent's question as to how do we know Weberman abused the victim. The poster does not want to be publicly identified but I have known him for many years.

Question: How do we know the victim is telling the truth?

Answer: You want to know how you can rely that this girl's story is 100% true. First of all the statistics of those who report being molested to the authorities is that well over 90% are true. In addition almost all of those that were false were when the child was prompted by the worried parents with leading questions and the kid just gave the answers that the parents were looking for or some similar kind of scenario. They wanted to believe that what the parents wanted them to say was what actually happened. In this case the victim was never questioned. She went to a licensed therapist as a requirement in her current school and eventually took a standardized test that showed she had suffered from extreme trauma. She then eventually shared that she was molested. It took about three more months until she disclosed the name of the abuser to her therapist. Her parents at that point still had no idea of what had occurred. The therapist who is a mandated reporter went with the head of their clinics' guidance and reported the crime to the police. She then helped Mrs A to get the strength to go to the police station and formally file a complaint.

Then on the side (not that it is needed) the underhanded tactics that that some in that community will take are not to the degree that they will give a $500,000 bribe to the victim to drop the case and disappear if they didn't know it was true. The only tried to give that to her because they knew it's true.

Then there is nothing so blindingly clear as the absolute truth. Mrs. A so valiantly shared the horrific truth of her mindbogglingly ordeal without ever wavering. It was clear through four days of the defense grilling her with all kinds of tricks and word games that she never said anything but the truth. Her story was without a single contradiction because she was saying only the truth. (They tried to claim that she contradicted herself because she said things in court that she didn't say to the police. However the idiot was only trying to make her look bad. As the prosecutor showed that it was impossible for her to share as much in 35 minutes with the detective who took her complaint as she did in the unending hours on the stand over four days under torturous questioning.)

Then in a very telling moment the defense was bothered by not being allowed to ask a certain question about her writings. She, the way the defense lawyer called it wrote tremendously during that time including about a thousand or more songs or as she in her words called them poems and was trying to gain some point from it. If I understood correctly he wanted to show that she was such an expressive person but for some reason she never expressed anything to anyone for three years. The jury was let out and the lawyers and the judge argued about it. During this argument the prosecuting attorney said "You know I'd be happy to let you question her about her writing if you let what she wrote during those years into evidence". The defense would have none of that. It was clear that he knew that she wrote about her trauma much earlier than when he claimed she "made up the story for revenge"

The prosecution also brought a top professional in the field who testified that it is inconceivable that someone could or would make up such a story let alone go through the ordeal of seeing it to fruition in court. Not only that but her parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews all were harassed and suffered greatly including financially due to her going through with it. She only forged onward in order to protect the girls who would come after her and for hers and the many other victims' closure. Eventually her family came to support her through it at least behind closed doors.

I don't understand the rules in the courtroom but for some reason when she responded to a question "Oh, you mean when he burned me?" the defense was all up in arms and the judge instructed her never to mention it again on the stand. Yes he even mutilated her young delicate body! A monster is not the word! This is only what he did to her. It just shows that all the others never got real professional help who would have been mandated reporters and then he might have been stopped earlier.

Another thing is that Mrs. A also stated clearly that EVERY TIME she went to him he locked all three locks on the door to his office which was inside his apartment which is adjoining to his family's apartment. Who needs three locks on such a door?! One of the locks though was only able to be seen on the inside of the door! If she was lying she would've said "He locked it basically every time" or "I remember him usually locking the locks." No, she was very clear even after being asked several times in different ways by the defense trying to catch her that he locked all three every single time! The defense brought a witness the next week who is unfortunately still emotionally involved with him, (As sadly often happens with such victims. They even blame themselves for the abuse). It was clear she was lying while on the stand about other things but she testified that the hidden lock was broken. She lived in his office for two years overlapping Mrs. A's time there. Yes, this rasha was doing things to several girls (and I have heard from credible sources to married women) at the same time! I know a married woman personally who went to him for guidance at the same time. ( I think only once) She wasn't the type he felt he can grope at least not on the first visit. She said though that when she went she was shocked that he locked three locks! She asked him "What about yichud?" He answered that it's not a problem because "My wife can get in at any time"!! The animal was so in the habit of locking all three locks that he even did so with a lady who he couldn't even do anything with!!

Not only was she a victim for 3 years but there are many other victims. Where are they? If so why didn't they complain for so many years also? So to begin I will share that I personally know two of them. I wasn't in court the day a third came and hugged and cried a river of tears with the victim but many others were who saw it. She said "Mrs. A you are up there for me too". Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz of Project Yes knows at least four other victims who are also scared to testify. It his heart wrenching the anguish that the victims suffered both in the actual sick actions inflicted on them and the terrible psychological abuse as well. A significant part of why many if not most molestation victims don't tell anyone for a long time is the fear of not being believed and that nothing can or will be done by them telling anyone. In the Weberman case the victims didn't fear not being believed, the KNEW they wouldn't be believed. Only now are some starting to come forward even though they are still scared to go public about it. As a matter of fact, one of the two victims (besides Mrs. A) that I know hired a lawyer to help protect her from having to testify about her abuse once the DA in this case learned for certain that she was also a victim of Weberman for an extended period of time!

In addition to answer the question of how she and the many others seemingly voluntarily went back again and again. There are many studies written on the subject. One well known one is published by the US Department of Justice Kenneth V. Lanning Former Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Click here for study

He states that the idea that child victims could simply behave like human beings and respond to the attention and affection of offenders by voluntarily and repeatedly returning to an offender’s home is a troubling one. It confuses us to see the victims in child pornography giggling or laughing. Most of these victims never disclose their victimization. He explains later in his study that "younger children may believe they did something “wrong” or “bad” and are afraid of getting into trouble. Older children may be more ashamed and embarrassed. Many victims not only do not disclose, but they strongly deny it happened when confronted.

He also states that acquaintance offenders are frequently described as “nice guys” and “pillars of the community” and quite often they actually are. Many individuals do not prevent, recognize, or accept the sexual victimization of a child by a respected member of society because they cannot believe a man who is good and spiritual and who seems to truly care for children could be a child molester. Parents who desperately want their children to get good grades, may actually push their children toward such offenders. As will be explained later, these offenders usually groom and seduce their child victims. Being “nice” has little to do with being a child molester except that it increases the likelihood of repeatedly committing the crime and getting away with it. A desire to work with or help children and an ability to relate to them does not necessarily mean someone is a child molester, but it does not mean someone is not. Such nice-guy offenders usually have strong needs to rationalize and validate their sexual behavior. This seems to be especially true of more intelligent, better educated individuals who molest children. Most of them seem to have an overwhelming need to convince, primarily themselves, the behavior they engaged in is not really sex, the child doesn’t understand or remember the activity and is therefore not harmed, this is an expression of love and caring, and/or they are entitled to this because of all the good they do. Their need to rationalize their sexual interests and behavior often leads them to be involved in “good works” that help troubled, needy children. They may become teachers, coaches, missionaries, child-protection advocates, or cyber vigilantes. Obviously such pursuits also give them convenient access to vulnerable children and socially acceptable reasons for interaction with them.

Then in what unfortunately applies to this case specifically he writes that the most difficult case of all involves a subject who has an ideal occupation for any child molester: a therapist who specializes in treating troubled children. This offender need only sit in his office while society preselects the most vulnerable victims and brings them to him. The victims are by definition “troubled” and unlikely to be believed if they do make an allegation. Again such a case could probably be proven only through the identification of patterns of behavior, multiple victims, and the recovery of child pornography or erotica.

May we see the real yeshua speedily in our days!