Four Indicted in Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox Child Sexual Abuse CaseJun 25, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office announced last week that it had obtained indictments against four members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for attempting to pressure witnesses in the criminal case of Nechemya Weberman, 53, who is awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused a teenage girl.
Weberman, who was the alleged victim’s spiritual therapist, is charged with sexually abusing the girl over the course of three years inside his home/office, beginning when she was 12 years old. According to a statement issued by the Brooklyn District Attorney, Abraham Rubin, 48, was indicted on four counts of Bribing a Witness, two counts of Tampering with a Witness in the Fourth Degree and one count of Coercion in the Second Degree. Among other things, the indictment charges Rubin with trying to silence the victim and her boyfriend, who was the outcry witness, and to get them to drop the case by bribing them with $500,000.
In a separate indictment, brothers Joseph, Jacob and Hertzka Berger have been charged with Coercion in the Second Degree. Joseph Berger was also charged with Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree. Jacob Berger has been additionally charged with Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree. According to the indictment, the defendants threatened to remove the rabbi-issued kosher certification from the restaurant operated by the alleged victim's boyfriend. When he would not cave in to their pressure, Jacob Berger went to the restaurant and physically tore down the certification, the indictment alleges.
If convicted, Rubin faces up to seven years in prison. Joseph and Hertzka Berger each face a year in jail while Jacob Berger faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jews have long been encouraged by their leaders to take allegations of sexual misconduct to rabbis before they make reports to secular authorities. These new indictments are the first cases to result from the formation of a task force that District Attorney Hynes recently set up to target witness intimidation in the ultra-Orthodox community.