by John Marzulli (NY Daily News)
October 6th 2008
An upstate rabbi barricaded himself inside his home early yesterday after FBI agents came to arrest him for allegedly sexually abusing his daughter.
The feds had to break down two doors to collar Israel Weingarten, 58, who was hiding in his bedroom, a prosecutor said in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Weingarten is charged with sexually abusing the victim starting in 1990 when she was 9 years old, and the molestation continued until she was 18.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Goldbarg said the defendant moved his wife and several of their children back and forth between Belgium and Israel, in part to have more freedom to sexually abuse the victim.
Weingarten has six other children, ages 13 to 24, who are living with him in his home in the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel in Monroe, Orange County. The prosecutor said the kids have been "brainwashed" to believe what he wants them to believe about the abuse of their sister.
Defense attorney Kenneth Gribtez said the allegations are "stale," dating back 11 years, and stem from a bitter divorce between Weingarten and his wife.
Alfred Weingarten, the defendant's brother, called the victim a "flip-flopper" who has previously retracted her claims. "She [the victim] is a problem, she left her religion 100%," Alfred Weingarten said.
Israel Weingarten, a former yeshiva schoolteacher, was ordered held without bail by Brooklyn Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack.