Three Brooklyn Brothers Who Admitted Trying To Bully Sex Abuse Victim's Boyfriend Receive No Jail Time
By Oren Yaniv (NY Daily News)
June 6, 2013
Three Brooklyn brothers admitted they tried to bully the boyfriend of a Hasidic sex abuse victim before an explosive trial but received no jail time from the judge Thursday.
Jacob, Joseph and Hertzka Berger ripped the kosher certificate off the wall at a restaurant owned by Hershy Deutsch, the now-husband of the star witness against the influential Hasidic counselor Nechemya Weberman.
Although prosecutors insisted they should get at least 30 days in jail for misdemeanor coercion, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun allowed the trio to plead guilty and get conditional discharge.
They only have to stay out of trouble for one year, with Jacob Berger, who also pleaded to felony mischief, required to pay a $500 fine.
"It's over," said his lawyer Michael Cibella. He added prosecutors "took a hardline stance of jail only" because of the high-profile nature of the case.
When the Bergers were arrested last June, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes strongly denounced intimidation tactics notorious in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
A DA spokesman emphasized Thursday the judge allowed the plea over their objections.
Weberman, 54, was found guilty in December of sexually abusing the teenage girl for three years while giving her religious counseling. He is serving a 50-year sentence.
The Berger brothers were never connected to him, but their confrontation with Deutsch revolved around a fund-raiser the Satmar community held on behalf of the then-accused molester.
Deutsch shut his Williamsburg eatery following the incident.
The case against another man, who allegedly offered him $500,000 to drop the charges, is still pending.
"I'm happy it's over, even though they deserve a bigger punishment in my and the entire world's eyes," said Deutsch. "The judge has his rules, and he made them pay what he thinks is fair."
He added the case has still sent a message to those who harass or intimidate victims and their family.
"This should be a lesson to the entire community that we won't stay quiet anymore, we will raise our voice and make sure every person involved will get the punishment they deserve," he added.