The sexual abuse trial of Nechemia Weberman being played out this week in a Brooklyn courtroom is both tragic in it sordid and ignoble details but also screams out one very profound and overriding question that remains unanswered. Why did Mr. Weberman choose to go to trial and in the interim and regardless of the trial’s outcome be the focus of such an astounding chilul Hashem, that is a desecration of G-d’s name and an embarrassment to all?
The mainstream news outlets say that the trial is not just about Weberman and his victim/accuser but also has on display as well as on trial attitudes and the lifestyle of a segment of the Chassidic community in Williamsburg. What about that so-called lifestyle is exactly going to be in trial?Â Is someone going to claim that it is ok or socially acceptable to physically abuse children so long as it is being done in the context of keeping them on a straight and narrow religiously observant path? I doubt it and don’t think so.
Regardless of the outcome of this trial a very significant amount of damage has already been done and it seems that there will still be more to come.Â Whoever this young lady is she certainly has a lot of courage along with support from relatives and some formidable personalities in the community.
I don’t know Mr. Weberman though I have spoken to people in the community there who vouch for him and are convinced that he is being falsely accused. He is certainly entitled to his day in court and the opportunity to defend himself against scurrilous charges.Â For many who are attending the trial it is about the big picture of slamming the door and expressing zero tolerance for any kind of abuse.Â For Mr. Weberman and his accuser/victim it is a fight for their individual lives and futures.