The Daily News Repoerts:
They convicted him because of the facts, not because of his religion.
A juror in the sexual abuse case pitting a teen accuser against HasidicÂ leader NechemyaÂ Weberman said he broke the panel’s silence to refute the notion the juryÂ returned a guity verdict out of anti-Semitic bias.
“It wasn’t religion, it wasn’t their background, it wasn’t revenge,” saidÂ the 42-year-old man, who asked not to be identified. “It was a young girl and anÂ old man alone in a room.”
The juror offered the first public account of the jury’s thinking duringÂ deliberations in the high-profile trial, which ended Dec. 10 with a guiltyÂ verdict to all 59 counts.
Weberman, 54, was convicted of molesting the now 18-year-old for three yearsÂ starting when she was 12, forcing her to perform oral sex and reenact pornÂ scenes. She started to see the unlicensed therapist after running afoul of theÂ insular sect’s stringent modesty rules.
Weberman’s lawyer George Farkas had claimed after the conviction thatÂ Hasidic Jews do not have “the same shot with a jury as anyone else.”
But the juror said he had no preconceptions about Weberman’s community,Â adding the panel didn’t view him as “a monster.”
“We realized we couldn’t make a flippant decision and ruin a man’s life,”Â the juror recalled. “It was, ‘Oh boy, we have a serious job.'”
The juror said the panel accepted the victim’s “emotional” testimony, whichÂ stretched over four days, but didn’t want to rely solely on her words.
“We needed something else,” he said.
“Something else” came in the form of social worker Sara Fried, who testifiedÂ she diagnosed the girl with post traumatic stress disorder over the years ofÂ molestation.
“That’s what clinched it,” the juror said during an hour-long interview at aÂ Brooklyn diner last week. “We took the vote and everyone was unanimous.”
He also noted there were multiple locks in Weberman’s home, that he admittedÂ to driving the girl upstate alone and that he housed other runaway teens.
“It raises a lot of red flags,” he said.
The panel of 12 jurors – a racially diverse group of different ages,Â including a college student and a retiree – weighed Weberman’s fate for aboutÂ five hours. After, jurors were ushered out of a side exit, escaping the mediaÂ glare.
Weberman, who’s facing a maximum of 117 years, is scheduled to be sentencedÂ Wednesday, though it will likely be later this month.
Read more at The New York Daily News