Sex abuse trial of prominent Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman begins as insular Satmar Hasidic sect becomes Exhibit 1

New York Daily News


Monday, November 26, 2012

The explosive sex abuse trial of prominent Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman began Monday, and the insular Satmar Hasidic sect both he and the teen accuser belonged to became Exhibit 1.

“It’s pretty much an entirely different world that’s just a couple of minutes away from this courthouse,” said Assistant District Attorney Kevin O’Donnell of the Williamsburg-based community.

Weberman, 53, is charged with touching the alleged victim’s genitals and forcing her to perform oral sex on him starting in 2007 when she was 12. He counseled her after the teenager was deemed heretic because she questioned religious teachings and “did not follow the modesty rules,” such as the required thickness of hosiery, prosecutors said.

“A woman questioning authority is not allowed,” said O’Donnell.

The defense agreed the teen was “a free spirit” who wrote poetry and read forbidden magazines like Cosmopolitan and People.

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