Ultra-Orthodox counselor guilty of sex abuse

A religious counselor in New York's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community was convicted Monday of the long-term sexual abuse of a girl who came to him with questions about her faith.

The courtroom was silent as Nechemya Weberman, 54, was convicted of 59 counts, including sustained sex abuse of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and other counts.

He faces 25 years in prison on the top charge and two to seven years on the lesser charges.

The defendant and his relatives stared at the ground as the verdict was pronounced. Some of the accusers' supporters smiled quietly.

The accuser, now 18, told authorities Weberman abused her repeatedly from the time she was 12 until she was 15.

Defense lawyers said the jurors, who deliberated about half a day, did not properly grasp the complicated issues.

"We firmly believe that the jury got an unfairly sanitized version of the facts," said attorney George Farkas.

---- AP

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