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Orthodox Sex Abuse Victim's Family Had to Pay $12K to Alleged Attacker

By Sonja Sharp | December 4, 2012 10:45am | Updated on December 4, 2012 12:02pm

BROOKLYN SUPREME COURT — The mother of the alleged victim in the child sex abuse case against Orthodox Jewish counselor Nechemya Weberman was told her daughter would be expelled from school unless she signed a $12,800 contract to have the teen counseled by the man accused of molesting her, jurors heard Monday.

The Williamsburg girls school, United Talmudical Academy, ordered her family to pay for a year of sessions in advance of the alleged victim's eighth grade year. Those sessions first began when the alleged victim was 12 years old, the mother said.

"They wanted to make sure I would keep sending her to Weberman," the woman, whose identity was withheld to protect her daughter, said on the stand.

The school declined to comment on the case.

The mother of seven testified at length Monday, detailing the harassment she said she and her family had suffered since February of 2011, when her now 17-year-old daughter first reported allegations of sexual abuse against Weberman, an unlicensed counselor and well-regarded member of Williamsburg's insular Satmar Hasidic community.

"When my husband went to synagogue to pray, they would call him a moser — they would scream at him," the witness said, using a derisive religious term meaning 'informant'.

"I had a problem with my granddaughter. They wouldn't allow her to go to school. I tried every school — she's an innocent child, 5 years old."

The mother said she struggled to find a school to take in her daughter after she eventually left United Talumudical Academy. The high-achieving teen found a spot in another Hasidic school in Borough Park, but was dismissed weeks later and spent the majority of the year out of school before finally being accepted to one in Midwood, she said.

She said she also tried to stop the school from letting Weberman take her daughter on a long, unsupervised car trip upstate, saying it violated the terms of yichud, the strictly-proscribed seclusion that keeps unrelated men and women apart. The school forced her to write a letter of apology to the defendant.

"He said she wants go upstate with him," the mother said. "I asked him, why can't you go to the child and tell her it's yichud," the mother said. "I was very concerned."

The accuser's mother took the stand on the heels of almost a week of testimony by her daughter,  whose testimony has rocked the community and sparked backlash and apparent attempts to silence the accuser and her family.

This summer, four men were arrested for allegedly trying to bribe the accuser and her husband to keep them from going forward with the case. Four more men were arrested last Thursday after allegedly snapping courtroom pictures of her on the stand and circulating them on the Internet, in violation of court rules.

The packed audience, too, has at times threatened to descend into chaos.

On Monday, audience members were chastised for gossiping, gum-snapping and shouting out comments during testimony by the alleged victim's mother, a child sexual abuse expert and the accuser's sister, a one-time business partner of Weberman's.

Weberman is expected to take the stand later this week.