Hasidic Jewish counselor Nechemya Weberman has been sentenced for abusing a girl over a period of 3 years. She was 12 years old when the abuse started.
54-year-old Weberman acted as the victim's therapist, although he was not licensed to counsel her, Daily Mail writes.
They were both members of the Satmar Hasidic religious sect in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The community governs itself in a strict manner, and its members have to follow its customs to the letter.
As a student, the victim was sent by the school to attend sessions with Weberman. Her way of dressing, dubbed immodest, had started to alarm school authorities. She had also begun asking questions about her religion and the strict rules it imposes.
Three years after the fact, Weberman was tried for the crime. He has been convicted on 59 counts, in December. The now 18-year-old girl was the last one to testify in his trial.
“I clearly remember how I would look in the mirror and saw a girl who didn't want to live in her own skin.
“A girl who couldn't sleep at night because of the gruesome abuse that had been done to her body. A sad girl who wished so badly she could live a normal teenage life but instead was victimized by a 54-year-old man who forced her to perform sickening acts, again and again, for his sadistic pleasure,” she told the court, according to UPI.
The almost 250,000 members of the Jewish community have supported the counselor throughout his trial, even pulling together to raise money for legal fees.
“The only evidence in this case [...] is the word of the accuser,” his attorney Stacey Richman had said during her statement.
Before being sentenced on Tuesday, Weberman was asked if he wished to say anything but refused to do so. “No thank you,” he responded.