NEW YORK (JTA) — Nechemya Weberman, a member of the Satmar Chasidic community in Brooklyn who practiced therapy without a license, was found guilty on 59 counts of sexual abuse.
Weberman, 54, was convicted Monday by a New York State Supreme Court jury for encounters he had with a female patient when she was between the ages of 12 and 15. He was charged initially on 88 counts, but the number was consolidated by Justice John Ingram, who presided over the case.
No physical evidence was presented during the trial, effectively leaving the prosecution to make the case based on the credibility of the accuser’s testimony.
The encounters started in 2007; the accuser turned 18 last week.
The girl’s parents sent her for sessions to Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, at the recommendation of the child’s school. According to the New York Daily News, the girl was referred for not meeting her sect’s strict modesty guidelines regarding women’s dress and asking questions about the existence of God.
The trial drew attention for a couple of unusual developments over the last several months.
In June, four men from the Satmar community were arrested for allegedly offering the accuser $500,000 in an attempt to silence her. And on Nov. 30, four spectators at the trial were arrested for taking photos of the accuser during her testimony, including a man by the name of Lemon Juice.
For Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who came under fire in June for his handling of prosecuting sex offenders in the haredi Orthodox community, it was his second high-profile conviction in a week.
On Dec. 3, Emanuel Yegutkin, the ex-principal of the Brooklyn-based Elite High School, was convicted on all charges of sexual abuse stemming from his relationship with three boys between 1996 and 2005, including one who was 7 at the time.