Hasidic Sex Abuser Has Symbolically Long Sentence Shortened

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Prominent Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman (center) at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn after being found guilty of 59 counts of sexual abuse. The conviction of a prominent member of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community on 59 counts of sexually abusing a schoolgirl stands as an important use of the criminal law in a defiantly insular culture. A jury credited her description of Weberman as a predator, and it rejected his claim that she had accused him in revenge for a scheme to have her boyfriend charged with statutory rape. Based on the evidence, the finding appeared a well-justified conclusion for which punishment must, and will, be severe. That said, had the jury acquitted Weberman, the case would still have been a landmark. On its own, trying him established that the law will be equally and fairly applied to all.L-R: Defense Attorney Michael Farkas, Nechemya Weberman, defense attorney George Farkas.
Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP/Corbis

The punishment of Nechemya Weberman, the Hasidic counselor convicted of the prolonged sexual abuse of a young girl in Brooklyn, was reduced by more than half, from 103 years to 50, because of a legal technicality. The judge, the New York Times reports, likely knew the law but wanted to make a point: "The end result will remain the same, life in prison," said a court spokesperson. Weberman would be eligible for parole for the first time in 2055, at the age of 97.