Weberman Trial Report – Day 1

The trial of Nechemya Weberman finally started with opening statments by ADA Kevin O’Donnell and defense attorney, George Farkas. There was also testimony by an expert on the hasidic community, Professor Rabbi Alan Nadler who discussed mesirah, vaad hatznius (modesty committees), and tznius norms.  The New York Post has a decent report. Sharon Otterman of The New York Times provides a better report.

Most significant was the turnout of about 35 supporters of the victim but only about 5 supporters of Weberman, all from his family. I believe we have turned a corner. We are showing other victims that if they press charges they will get some important support and validation.

The prosecution case is straightforward. The defense has a convoluted argument that the the victim is driven by hate of the community and personal embarassment over things Weberman uncovered.

Tomorrow (Tues, Nov 27) starts at 9:30 and will probably end around 4:30. The victim is expected to begin her testimony tomorrow.


11 thoughts on “Weberman Trial Report – Day 1

    • In addition, the prosecutor investigated her and his claims and decided to proceed to trial. Yes, evidence matters, but this is not merely a case of conflicting claims. In addition, the victim and those close to her have suffered incredible abuse to persist in this claim. As for me, I have heard similar stories from too many other victims of Weberman.

  1. From the New York Times: “At age 15, they said, she had revealed to Mr. Weberman that she had a boyfriend — a serious breach of the community’s stringent rules — and then, a defense lawyer said, she concluded that he told her parents about it.”

    How can that point even be in dispute when the defense tried having a video of her and her boyfriend having sex admitted into evidence at trial? The tape was taken by the father if I recall correctly at the behest of Weberman!

  2. A 12 year old Satmar girl is sent for “counseling” to a 50+ year old man with no training. He “counsels’ her in a room with a bed in it. He takes her alone for long rides into the country. This is the same man who reportedly is so “machmer” that he doesn’t wear his glasses in the street because he may, Chas Ve’sholom see a woman. You don’t see that there is something glaringly, obviously, incredibly wrong here?!

    Even in the secular community, it would be highly irregular for a 12 year old girl to be counseled by a man, and NEVER alone. If this girls was having problems, why wasn’t she being sent to a frum woman? Why don’t we stop right there and just get the answer to that question from the Satmar school that refers young girls to Nechemya Weberman.

  3. Here’s what I’d like to say to the jury:

    Think about the immense amount of pressure this girl is facing from her community, from her own family (don’t forget, her father is being implicated here too). Think about what it would be like to live as the “evil accuser” and be the subject of hatred and bullying for months on end. Think about having to face the person you’re accusing in court, with all the people in attendance, all the press and publicity. Think about the level of horrifying detail she’s coming out with. Think of how unlikely it is that a person could make this up, and what it would mean to other victims of abuse if she were caught making it up? And lastly, just think about how much easier it would have been to keep quiet and not face all this pressure.

    Now… Do you really think anyone, let alone a 17-year-old girl, would subject themselves to this amount of pressure and difficulty and overt hostility out of “revenge” or “hate” for the community? Do you really think the nauseating details of the abuse that she spent hours relating could possibly just be “imagined”? Or is the ONLY reasonable scenario that she would possibly have put herself through this living hell, that she made the decision to be brave, to come forward and stand up to her abuser, and stand up for all the other children who are victims of sexual abuse, in the hopes that no one should have to ever experience what she has? Isn’t that the only plausible motivation here? Of course it is. Don’t let Mr. Weberman’s “defense” shake you from this obvious truth.

    It’s time to acknowledge this girl’s tremendous pain and suffering, and her incredible bravery, and to show the world that victims of sexual abuse are not going to be scared into silence. They are not going to go away. And we as a public with a conscience are not going to aid and abet sexual predators. It’s time to stand with her, to stand for justice and righteousness, to stand for victims of abuse, offer our love and support to this courageous victim, and let her bravery be an inspiration to us all…

  4. On a semi-related note, with the attention these issues have been getting lately, I know there are organizations working to change attitudes in the community. I see you’ve mentioned Zaakah a few times, and I saw “The Voice of Justice” quoted in a NYT article. Are you aware of other organizations working in this space? Are they doing good work? Is Zaakah focused just on this trial or do they have a wider appeal?

    • I have referred your question to the Zaakah page on FaceBook. Hopefully they can answer. According to my limited understanding, they came together on short notice to mount a counter demonstration to the Weberman fundraiser this summer and have been very active in promoting support for the victim during this trial. I know that their ambition is to do more to support other victims. I do not know what they are in fact able to do at this point or for that matter what they have done.

  5. Pingback: Media Coverage of the Weberman Trial | Machshavos

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