By Jose Martinez (NY Post)
June 14, 2012
The start of a sex-abuse trial for a prominent Williamsburg rabbi was delayed today because a yeshiva keeps ignoring requests for information from his defense team.
The case of Nechemya Weberman, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi charged with molesting a 12-year old girl over three years, was pushed back to July 18 as a judge weighs whether to slap contempt of court charges against the United Talmudical Academy.
"I was trying to avoid doing that to give the school an opportunity to respond," Justice Ruth Shillingford said.
The 53-year-old accused child molestor is affiliated with the yeshiva, where his alleged victim — who was supposed to be mentored by him about religion — was a student.
But Weberman's lawyers said the yeshiva has ignored letters and subpoenas for records on the rabbi, whose supporters last month rallied to raise funds for his legal defense.
"The only way to obtain these records at this point is to threaten the school and its administration with contempt," said George Farkas, a defense lawyer for the 53-year-old rabbi.
Yeshiva officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case returned to court as District Attorney Charles Hynes has come under fire for not publicly identifying the nearly 100 accused perverts from Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods now facing sex charges.
The prosecutor has maintained that doing so would put victims at risk for harassment within the ultra-Orthodox community.
But Weberman's accuser, now 17, isn't backing down, said victims' advocate Joel Engelman.
"She's very strong in her conviction to go forward," he said. "But she's been made to feel very uncomfortable."
Farkas insisted Weberman is innocent.
"If there is any fairness or justice in this world, this man is going to exonerated," he said.