4 Ultra-Orthodox Jews Charged With Trying to Silence Accuser in Abuse Case
The Brooklyn district attorney, facing a wave of public criticism about his handling of sexual abuse allegations in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, on Thursday charged four men with attempting to silence an accuser by offering her and her boyfriend a $500,000 bribe, and threatening her boyfriend’s business.
Two of the four defendants being escorted into Brooklyn Supreme Court. They are charged with offering an accuser and her boyfriend $500,000, and threatening the boyfriend’s business.
The district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, alleged that the men were part of an effort to protect a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidic community, Nechemya Weberman, who has been accused of 88 counts of sexual misconduct, including oral sex with a child younger than 13 years old. The charges all involve one girl, now 17, who was referred by her school to get counseling by Mr. Weberman, and then alleged she was abused by him during therapy sessions.
The charges are the first time in at least two decades that Mr. Hynes has charged Hasidic Jews with intimidation of a witness in a sexual abuse case, even though victims, their advocates and prosecutors say intimidation has long been a major obstacle to prosecution of abuse among the ultra-Orthodox. In recent weeks, Mr. Hynes has been saying that the intimidation of witnesses in the ultra-Orthodox community is worse than in the world of organized crime.