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Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor sentenced to 103 years for sexual abuse

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Nechemya Weberman, left, a religious counselor in New York City's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, was sentenced Tuesday to 103 years in prison, for molesting a girl who came to him with questions about her faith.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor in New York was sentenced to 103 years in prison Tuesday for repeatedly sexually abusing a girl who was his patient over three years, according to wire reports.

Nechemya Weberman, 54, was convicted last month of sustained sex abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child, among 59 counts, NBCNewYork.com reported in December. For decades, Weberman worked with families within Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of 250,000, which is the largest outside Israel, according to NBCNewYork.com. He was an unlicensed therapist, according to Reuters.

The female victim, who also belong to the Satmar Hasidic sect there, had been sent to Weberman with questions about her faith, and the girl testified that she was abused from age 12 to 15, The Associated Press reported.


At Tuesday's sentencing, the accuser, now 18, recounted the horrors of the abuse: "I clearly remember how I would look in the mirror," she said, according to the AP. "I saw a girl who didn't want to live in her own skin ... a girl whose innocence was shattered, ... a girl who couldn't sleep at night because the horrifying images of the recent gruesome invasions which had been done to her body kept replaying in her head."

While Weberman has not been charged in any other molestation case, the accuser noted she was also speaking for other victims who haven't come forward yet, the AP reported.

"This message should go out to all victims of sexual abuse: Your cries will be heard. Justice will be done. You should report," said Judge John Ingram, according to the AP.

After the sentencing, the victim's husband gave a similar message of support to victims of abusers, and he added that his wife "is relieved that the children in our community will be safe," Reuters reported.

Weberman's attorney George Farkas said appeal was planned. "We look forward to the man being exonerated," he said, according to Reuters. "We honestly and truly and fully believe this was a set-up."

According to Reuters, the Hasidic community has a history of addressing sexual abuse accusations internally, which critics say sometimes involves intimidating or ignoring victims. The victim's husband said they were still receiving threats from members of their community.

The Associated Press and Reuters, as well as NBCNewYork.com, contributed to this report.

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