by Kati Cornell (NY Post)
March 11, 2009
A Hasidic rabbi from Rockland was found guilty today of molesting his daughter - and now faces 50 years in prison for his sordid crimes.
Israel Weingarten, 59, was convicted in Brooklyn federal court of all five counts of transporting the now 27-year-old victim in and out of the country to commit sexual crimes against her.
The feds claimed that he molested his daughter in Rockland and on trips to Israel and Belgium.
Acting as his own lawyer, Weingarten delivered a rambling 1½-hour closing argument to the jury on Tuesday, who at times during the trial appeared repulsed by his cross-examination of the victim and other family members.
During the trial, Weingarten said his daughter had a relationship with a married man in Belgium that led her to fabricate the charges against him.
After the verdict this afternoon, his daughter - who has not been named by The Post because she is the victim of a sex crime - said her father asking her questions while she was on the stand was "like being molested again."
"I wish he wasn't my father," she added.
The feds claim Weingarten sexually abused his daughter, now 27, starting in 1990 when she was only 9.
Prosecutors said the abuse lasted until she was 16 - and it took the jury just a day to believe that Weingarten committed the crimes.
The trial has split the city's Satmar community - one faction believing the victim and others claiming she's a lair.
Weingarten will be sentenced on April 3.