Ex-Wife: Rabbi Israel Weingarten Half-Nude with Our Daughter

By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
March 6, 2009

The ex-wife of a rabbi accused of molesting his daughter testified Thursday that she found them together in bed, and the teen revealed that she had been sexually abused.

Rabbi Israel Weingarten in court on Thursday
Photo by Jane Rosenberg

Before she began answering the prosecutor's questions, Faige Weingarten waived her spousal privilege and told the judge she wanted to testify against her ex-husband, Israel Weingarten, who prosecutors say began abusing the girl in 1990 when she was 9.

The case is being heard in Brooklyn because Weingarten is accused of passing through JFK Airport on the family's frequent travels to Belgium.

Faige Weingarten recalled a Friday night about nine years ago when they were living in Belgium. She had slept in another room after arguing with her husband. She heard their infant crying and went to the bedroom, where she found Weingarten and their then-16-year-old daughter in bed.

"He said, 'Look, we are dressed,' but with the covers half down, I saw the middle of his body was naked," she said in Brooklyn Federal Court through a Yiddish translator.

A few days later, the daughter confided to her she had been sodomized, according to Faige Weingarten.

"She became disgusted for the rest of her life - he made her life disgusting," she said.

The rabbi, who is representing himself in the case, complained to Judge John Gleeson that the translator misunderstood Faige's answer about his father's ailing health at the time of the alleged sexual abuse.

Gleeson was incredulous. "And you think that was the important part?" he shot back.

Earlier, the rabbi reduced his son to tears during a bizarre cross-examination about a suicide letter the boy had written.

"Is it possible it could get any worse than this?" said the defendant's legal adviser, Barry Rhodes.



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