Nechemya Weberman, a prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor in Brooklyn, has been sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexual abuse.
Weberman, 54, was convicted on 59 counts of child endangerment and sexual assault for sexually abusing a girl for three years, beginning when she was 12, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Both Weberman and the girl belonged to the insular Satmar Hasidic sect, which enforces strict rules about clothing, socializing, and interacting with the secular world, the Associated Press reported. She had been sent to the counselor for her violations of the Satmar code of modesty.
The victim, now 18, spoke briefly in the Brooklyn courtroom where the sentence was given Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported. Weberman sat silently with his eyes closed.
“I remember how I would look in the mirror,” she said. “I saw a girl who didn’t want to live in her own skin. A girl whose innocence was shattered at age 12. A sad girl who wanted to live a normal life, but instead was being victimized by a 50-year-old man who forced her to perform sickening acts again and again.”
Weberman maintains his innocence, and his attorneys say they plan to appeal his sentence, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The only evidence in this case of sexual abuse is the word of” the accuser, his attorney Stacey Richman told jurors, AP reported. “She’s making things up in front of you as they occur.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said that "the prosecution of ultra-Orthodox Jewish cases can be more difficult than organized crime cases," the WSJ reported.
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