by Oren Yaniv and Larry McShane (New York Daily News)
January 22, 2013
A prominent Satmar Hasidic counselor was sentenced to 103 years in prison Tuesday for his repeated sexual abuse of a teen victim, who was left weeping over the loss of her childhood.
An expressionless Nechemya Weberman, 54, said nothing as the stunning jail term was handed down once his victim finished her heart-wrenching statement inside a Brooklyn courtroom.
“I remember how I would look in the mirror,” the victim recounted as her tormentor sat with his eyes closed. “I saw a girl who didn’t want to live in her own skin. A girl whose innocence was shattered at age 12.
“A sad girl who wanted to live a normal life, but instead was being victimized by a 50-year-old man who forced her to perform sickening acts again and again.”
The sentence is a virtual life term for Weberman, who would be 157 years old before coming up for parole.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said Weberman’s conviction was only possible with “the courage of a young woman.”
The victim, subjected to repeated sexual assaults between 2007 and 2010, spent four days on the witness stand being grilled about the depraved attacks that left her suicidal.
“It takes years and years to heal,” said the victim, who sat in the front row of the courtroom with her husband. “In some ways, it’s much worse than murder. The abused experience the past over and over again.”
The first incident of abuse came when she was just 12 years old.
Weberman, who served as a counselor for members of the ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect, was convicted last month on 59 counts of abuse for the repeated attacks inside his locked office.
The victim said she was forced to perform oral sex and act out scenes from pornographic movies up to four times a week when she met with Weberman for counseling.
The victim, now 18, went to authorities in February 2011 to detail the abuse. The Daily News reported that Webermman may have violated at least 10 other victims — including married women who came to him for counseling.
Weberman, who did not speak at the sentencing, was jailed without bail after his conviction. He faced a maximum sentence of 117 years behind bars.
His attorney, George Farkas, said Weberman maintains his innocence and questioned the lengthy jail term.
“Retribution has no place in sentencing,” he said.