The Brooklyn DA’s office has handed down some very lenient sentences for orthodox sex offenders lately, insisting it treats those cases like an others. But consider the quotes below justifying stiffer sentences when a community still does not take a crime seriously. They come from a 2009 sentencing session in Brooklyn.
- “The assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, also argued for jail time as opposed to therapy, which the defense was seeking, emphasizing that the absence of jail time would send “just a very bad message … [not only] to the community.”
- “Judge __ praised the victims and their families for the having the courage to come forward despite communal pressures. And he made a point of indicating that precisely because of the community’s “‘circle the wagon attitude’ there is going to be a jail sentence in this case because anything less, I believe, would offend not only the appropriate sense of justice but would also further, in some way, if not penalize [and] … indicate to the victims here who have … suffered the opprobrium of the community that somehow what happened to them was not important, was not significant.””
This case prosecuted by ADA Kevin O’Donnell involved Yona Weinberg, an orthodox social worker and bar mitzvah tutor. The court session also included the drama of Judge Guston Reichbach attacking the community response to abuse.
As this case shows, there is every reason for the DA’s office to consider community minimization of the crimes and harassment of victims when seeking and assigning sentences.
Weinberg was sentenced to 13 months and he is now a Level 3 registered sex offender.