Hasidic Sex Abuser Has Symbolically Long Sentence Shortened

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.