Rabbi Grills Weeping Daughter at His Sex Trial

By Reuven Fenton
New York Post
March 4, 2009

A Hasidic rabbi who is representing himself on charges he repeatedly molested his daughter when she was a child angrily cross-examined the young woman yesterday.

The alleged victim, now 27, could barely look at Israel Weingarten, 59, when he began grilling her in Brooklyn federal court. She burst into tears and kept her head down.

But she regained her composure and lashed out when he asked why she never told the family cleaning lady - a close friend - about the alleged abuse.

"My feeling from your molesting me was the utmost fear of blackmail and torture," she said.

"Because you hit me when I told my mother [about the abuse]. Why would I continue to reveal that? Didn't I get hit enough?"

Earlier in the day, the daughter told the court that her father began molesting her at age 9 and continued to abuse her until she was 16.

She said she was even abused during a trip to Brooklyn when Weingarten's father was on his deathbed.

"My father abused me that very night," she sobbed.

"I asked him, how could he have the heart to do that when his father is passing?"

Her father - a member of the Satmar community in Monsey, Rockland County - interrogated her about a brief affair she had with a married neighbor when she was a teen.

She said she was happy that "I finally got to be with another guy besides my father."

Weingarten flew off the handle at one point during the tense questioning, when his daughter said she didn't understand what he was asking her.

When the dad snapped, "I'm not trying to fight you," Judge John Gleason sternly warned him not to talk that way to the witness.

"You have [already] created a fairly untenable and horrific situation by your deciding to represent yourself," Gleason said.


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