The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Satmar Rabbi Nechemya Weberman was found guilty of 59 counts of sexual abuse in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Monday.
Sentencing is set to begin January 9. Weberman faces up to 25 years in prison for one of the charges and may face even more by the time the sentencing hearings are completed.
The trial hinged on the testimony of an 18-year old girl who said Weberman was abusing her for years while she received counseling from him, starting from when she was 12.
The NY Daily News reported that she testified that “she was forced to perform oral sex and reenact porn scenes during closed-door counseling sessions that started in 2007.”
Weberman was not a licensed counselor.
The two-week trial was said to highlight how the Satmar community enforced its modesty and sexuality requirements.
The victim said she was referred to Weberman for counseling by her yeshiva because she broke modesty rules and asked critical theological questions.
The victim further testified that while she was under Weberman’s supervision, “I wanted to die,” the Daily News reported.
Weberman’s attorney Stacey Richman said the girl was a liar and that he would appeal.
The Satmar community also came under scrutiny throughout the ordeal because community fundraisers were held in support of Weberman and members of the community allegedly approached the victim seeking to pay her off to drop the claims.
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