Fundraiser for Orthodox Rabbi Charged of Sex Abuse Draws Protest

By Meredith Hoffman on May 17, 2012 4:00pm 

The protest against Nechemya Weberman happened in South Williamsburg near Kent Avenue housing.
The protest against Nechemya Weberman happened in South Williamsburg near Kent Avenue housing.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

WILLIAMSBURG — More than 100 people protested a Wednesday fundraiser for an Orthodox Jewish leader charged with sex assault.

Rabbi Nechemya Weberman held a dinner to raise money for legal support, after a 16-year-old teen accused him of molesting her during her counseling sessions when she was 12 years old, as CBS reported.

But as hundreds of Hasidic Jews praised him inside the event space, members of the Orthodox community reportedly yelled outside the dinner on Wythe Avenue at Rutledge Street.

Protesters included a former Catholic priest, Robert H. Hoatson, who told the Times, "I’m here to support the young girl, the victim, who has been vilified and dragged through the mud."

But Weberman's lawyer, Michael Farkas, insisted he is innocent and had the right to his fundraiser.

"Mr. Weberman is and should be presumed innocent," Farkas wrote in an email to DNAinfo New York.

"From the day he was arrested, there have been some within his community who have publicly tried and convicted him without knowing anything about the case or reviewing any shred of evidence," Farkas said. "That type of prejudgment ruins people, especially those charged with a crime like this.  Mr. Weberman’s supporters have every right to profess his innocence."

Weberman is next due in Brooklyn Supreme Court June 14.

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