Where Are Weberman’s Other Victims?

Weberman’s other victims are hiding in plain sight. They are confiding in just a few others privately. They need to give voice to their anguish but are not willing to go public. However their stories are spreading all over the ultra orthodox world. For example, Ezra Friedlander, who heads a public relations firm writes in this week’s 5 Towns Jewish Times

Last week, as the trial captured the attention of the masses, I met someone who confided to me that his daughter’s best friend was also abused by this very same perpetrator.  Stunned, I asked him if anyone else knows about this.  “No,” he answered.  “And that’s how it should remain.”

Friedlander goes on to decry the inadequate communal response to abuse. He advocates all sorts of reforms. However, none of them involve using the civil or criminal  authorities when abuse is detected. He is a PR man, so he deftly avoids saying it explicitly, but his silence about reporting sex abuse crimes is telling.

There you have it. There are divisions in the ultra orthodox community, but not about reporting abuse. Some very important halachic authorities have sanctioned reporting abuse. But for all practical purposes their halachic responsa are dead letters. Some believe in scorched earth resistance to reporting while others accept the reality that a few cases will manage to reach the court system. The latter group believes that when this happens, you cut your losses and discreetly help the perpetrator but you don’t fight the criminal justice system in the court of secular opinion. There is even a willingness to toss a few shmendriks under the bus and hand them over to the criminal justice system. To date, no prominent member of the ultra orthodox community has ever been handed over to the criminal justice system with the open support of rabbinical authorities.

Satmar believes in going down to the wire in public, embarrassing and infuriating those who favor a behind-the-scenes approach. But these are merely debates about tactics.  For all of Satmar’s bluster about Weberman’s  innocence they are really fighting for the principal that no Jew should be in jail and no member of their community can be allowed to cooperate with the authorities. Only the modern orthodox have explicitly endorsed proactive across-the-board recourse to the criminal justice system. Even there, practice lags behind theory.

Weberman’s other victims are out there and their stories are diffusing through the system. They are beginning to find each other and forming small informal support groups. They are telling their stories to others, discretely. Information moves quickly in the dense social networks of the Satmar community. More and more people inside Satmar are convinced that Weberman is guilty.

Weberman’s other victims now live in a twilight zone, caught between their private nightmares and official pronouncements about his innocence, between private whispers about his misdeeds and public pressure to stay silent. I asked, “Where are Weberman’s other victims?” The answer is that they are out there whispering but not saying it out loud in court or on the media. They are hostage to Satmar’s defiant tactics which imposes a code of omerta to keep Jews out jail.

18 thoughts on “Where Are Weberman’s Other Victims?

  1. A close friend of mine told me that a friend of hers who is a married chassidishe woman is a victim of Weberman. This victim was in a shopping mall last year in the run-up to the trial and was approached by a small group of chassidishe women who said to her “you better not open your mouth about Weberman” and walked away; she was frightened.

    • I have heard similar stories. The very mamzerim who say the allegations are false seem to have a long list of the victims and have approached many to warn them not to go public.

      They have a two step plan.
      1. Scare off the other victims.
      2. Scream, “How can you convict on the basis of testimony by one victim.”

      But for these tactics they would not be able to say this is a case where, “She said; he said.” It should have been a case of, “They said; he said.”

    • Real junk article. Admits there were abusers, absurdly complains about communities being portrayed as covering up. Duh. That is what YU and Satmar have in common. Then segues into how orthos are better because of timeless torah, blah, blah, blah. Never asks the simple Qs. Were there cover ups & isn’t that a violation of torah values.

      The only good news is that it is such a lousy article that it will not get any traction.

  2. Even without intimidation, it’s very difficult for victims to come forward and deal. It’s an extremely personal decision and I think we should all respect a victim’s decision not to do so. Survivors don’t need the extra pressure.

  3. YL: “Weberman’s other victims are out there and their stories are diffusing through the system. They are beginning to find each other and forming small informal support groups. They are telling their stories to others, discretely. Information moves quickly in the dense social networks of the Satmar community. More and more people inside Satmar are convinced that Weberman is guilty.”

    A (not Jewish) acquaintance of mine told me that this is exactly how events unfolded in Boston in 2002.

  4. That Weberman had other victims that have been intimidated or bullied into remaining silent is so troubling, and it reminds me of Mondrowitz’s victims. Of the estimated hundreds of boys he molested, only 1 Jew was willing to be identified a victim. There were Italian kids who were also abused, and I believe they were willing to openly testify against Mondrowitz if he was extradited back to the USA.

    YL- how many estimated “others” are there who were abused by Weberman?

  5. We know of 10-12 who have spoken directly to a small group of activists. I am hearing of new reports surfacing but this is 2nd or third hand, usually without names so there is usually no way to know whether they were part of the original group or newly announced victims.

    Guesstimating the total number of victims is very hard and extremely imprecise. But I will assume the usual ratios of reported to unreported abuse in the frum world which is somewhere around 1:10. So I will guess that Weberman has over a hundred victims. If I was forced to bet with real money I make book on 200 victims. This puts him in same league as Mondrowitz, another faux therapist.

  6. i have never heard of victims being bullied by advocates.

    Why bash the advocates?

    We are such a small minority and we do the best we can, as we continuously face an army of attackers.

    • Of course, Debby. Real advocates wouldn’t bully survivors into acting out the advocate’s revenge fantasies through others, but lots of them do. If the “advocates” you are associated wit, face attackers (especially from those who are supposed to be on the same side of things), perhaps you should open up your eyes as to why they are being attacked. I’m happy to say more, but I don’t think this is the venue. Feel free to email me.

  7. Dear Sara,
    Like Yerachmiel, I also understand that coming forward with an accusation is personal matter. Survivors of sexual abuse can feel pressured in coming forward by ‘advocates’ as they can feel pressured by others to keep quite. I would however point out that a true sexual predator remains a danger to others if action is not taken involving law enforcement. Any survivor who is thinking about coming forward must keep in mind that their action or inaction can save or endanger other children in the future. I know this may only add to the pressure a person feels making a decision which is already very difficult.

    • IC – Understood. However, in my mind, the of paramount importance and priority is the state of mind of the survivor who reports (or decides not to). Not everyone can handle making a report and setting into motion a snowball of consequences that they cannot control. Since when should a survivor further sacrifice their own lives and mental health further if they truly arent ready to do so, and who are we to decide and judge when and that they are?

      • I think the important point to be remembered is how the community often shifts the burden of responsibility from the enablers and cover up artists to the victim. In other areas of life we realize that people who are traumatized, terrorized and just coping with more practical real-life problems should have less demanded of them. When it comes to abuse victims/survivors often start with less of all sorts of things but have more demanded of them. I feel we must do everything we can to fight molesters including attacking the whole infrastructure that protects them. I am pretty sure that when this is done enough and effectively enough, more victims will come forward. Even more victims will come forward when they see abundant support for victims. Certainly the Weberman trial showed some of the ways we as a community can support victims. At the same time, I feel that each victim must make the choice about their emotional readiness and about their ability to sustain a very brutal and demanding ordeal.

        In dealing with an individual victim the choice to go forward or not is theirs to make and must be respected and supported. Some are ready. Some find it therapeutic. Others are not willing to make the choice. Others are clearly not ready. Sometimes our support makes them ready, and I am happy when that happens. But that should not be a quid pro quo for our help.

        The cause of fighting abuse has a place for many types of actors. Most of my work is blogging and some investigation. Others provide direct support, others work the system to deal with invididual cases, some work on the system at a policy level. I think each of us has to know our strengths and limits.

    • If the average man-in-the-street of Satmar (or YU) would risk experiencing even a fraction of the survivors’ tsara by taking a public stand for justice, it would be incalculably easier for survivors to come forward.

  8. I know for a fact satmar / weberman defense team hired a major PR company to assist with damage control . many people were exposed to the truth , and several of his victims finally spoke out against him publicly . ( not in court , but to friends , family , rabanim and Askunim) . Since the damage was done and it was too late for them to retract their statements supporting that animal , and of course pleading for his acquittal , they felt compelled To continue supporting him despite being aware of the truth . They can never admit that they miatakenly protected and defended the wrong party , instead they’re digging themselfs deeper and deeper And getting increasingly involved in covering up his guilt. I have no doubt that the Ami magazine got paid a large sum of money to publish this article just like they did when the entire Klall Yisroel was upset with New Square for physically harming another Yid for burning him . The 1st and only magazine to have an official article in favor of New Square was the ami magazine and I’m sure they find some reason to justify their actions . They truly believe that they do it to avoid the chilull hasham !!! Guess What?!? If they REALLY wanted to avoid a chilul hasham then perhaps they should have asked the so called innocent Weberman (btw my entire body shudders just to write to 2 words ” innocent Weberman”) to take a plea just to avoid chilull Hasham. Where was the PR company then? You know what, that master manipulator managed to convince them that he is being targeted by an outcast and is innocent of all charges , just as he managed to manipulate All those innocent girls/victims .

    In case anyone didnt Notice that the interview on the Zev Brenner show was completley unexpected , and therefore hardly had any victims adcovates refutting their story on air . they have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on his defense and are now spending even more by selling their lies to our general masses . Weberman’s self confidence convinced his lawyer that having him on the stand will help them win the case . That sly smile and arrogant behavior which he foolishly thought will prove his innocence ended up sealing his fate (thank god) .

    He stated on record that he was considered a Rabbinacal Counselor not because he was a Rabbi or Rebbe , but because his methods of therapy were inspired by Torah Law and Halacha . Surprisingly though I was not able to establish a single SUCCESS STORY where Weberman was directly involved . His so called Satisfied Clients who testified on his behalf are not a success story . When your married for the 3rd time , or have intimate relations with Weberman , you no longer qualified As a success story . I did a lot of research and the only people saying that he didn’t abuse them were the ones who refused to return to him for counseling After the first session were those who were disgusted by his approach and demeanor after meeting him just once !

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