The verdict, against Nechemya Weberman, was a significant victory for Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, whose office has been criticized for not acting aggressively enough against sexual abusers in the borough’s large and politically connected Hasidic community. And the case offered a rare window into how the Satmar community enforces its sexual values, particularly for young girls, with so-called modesty committees chastising girls for wearing revealing clothing or using cellphones, and parents pressured to pay high fees to religious counselors to treat those girls.
He was convicted on 59 counts.
There’s been a considerable culture of impunity until now, with the police looking the other way for years.
Prosecution of sexual abuse allegations in the ultra-Orthodox community has been hampered in the past by the intimidation of witnesses. In this case, Mr. Hynes’s office brought charges against several men for allegedly trying to interfere with the case, through bribery and threats. Then, during the trial, three other men were charged for taking cellphone pictures of the victim, in violation of court rules. And, although supporters of accused abusers have dominated the gallery at previous trials involving prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish men, on many days at this trial, supporters of the accuser and advocates for abuse victims were in the majority.
H/t No Light.