In great pain we feel the need to publicize a terrible situation that occurred in our own community with the hope that something can be done to heal a terrible wound and prevent future tragedies from occurring.
The victim was a bright 12 year old in the sixth grade in a Chassidic Yeshiva school for girls. During class she would ask many theological questions, some which the teachers were incapable of responding to. The teacher turned to the principal for guidance and answers to the questions. The principal summoned her to his office and berated her for asking such questions calling her an apikorus (heretic). He demanded that she see a counselor in order to stay in the school.
With great personal sacrifice, the parents invested tremendous time and money in therapy with Nechemia Weberman. Each session lasted a minimum of three hours at a cost of $150 an hour. At one point they were required to pay $7,000 in advance to the principal, to guarantee that she remain in therapy.
Unfortunately they trusted both the school and Mr Weberman. When they did have questions or concerns, they were intimidated and threatened. At one point Mr. Weberman took her alone on a 12 hour trip upstate – when the mother asked about hilchos yichud he responded in great anger. Rather than calming her, he threatened to stop treatment if she wouldn’t apologize in writing.
Finally, after two years of embarrassment and pain at school, the victim was switched to another school. The new school assigned her to a therapist. Throughout the sessions the therapist discovered what had occurred with Mr. Weberman over the past few years.
The law in NY State requires that a therapist report any abuse that happens to a child whether or not the parents agree. Thus it was a shock when the parents of the victim were called down to the police station and informed of what happened.
Those unfamiliar with how the DA’s office works blamed the parents for the charges and publicity, yet they themselves had no control over the process. Initially the parents did not believe the story and the police refused to allow the girl back home. For three weeks the girl was placed in another home. with time and investigation it became clear that the painful stories were true. Numerous other victims have come forward to share their stories as well.
The victim’s family wanted to keep the story quiet in order to preserve the dignity of the weberman family, yet the webermans in trying to deny the charges has made this public and widespread. The defendant, who is and aggressor according to Jewish law, is now playing the role of a victim.
As religious people, the victim’s family would like to handle this according to the Torah. They have informed the Rabbis and advocates that they are ready and willing to go to any Rabbinical Court to uncover the truth and follow their guidance.
As a community, we hope you can share in their pain and do what needs to be done to keep our kehilla safe.
The victim can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org