Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weberman: The smoking gun

Rabbi Horowitz   After many delays and much legal wrangling, Nechemia Weberman will finally stand trial in Brooklyn Criminal Court on October 30th for allegedly abusing a young girl in the Williamsburg community over a period of three years -- beginning when she was 12 years old. Mr. Weberman is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.[...]

Moreover, it would help undo the denial and cognitive dissonance of those who defend Weberman -- by pointing out how disturbing were the circumstances of his "treatment" of the young girls referred to him.

Think of it this way. Wouldn't alarm bells go off in your mind if a doctor performed an invasive procedure without using latex gloves or if he/she picked up a used syringe to give you an injection? Wouldn't you think it strange if you were a single mother and were requested to meet with your son’s Rebbe or principal at 9 p.m. one evening in a deserted Yeshiva building to discuss your son's progress?

Well, those of us familiar with the do's and don'ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should you when the facts were made public that Weberman:

1) Had unregulated access to many girls over a number of years in his inappropriate and illegal role as their unlicensed "therapist."
2) Had these young girls referred to him for counseling by very Chassidish schools, whose general level of gender separation far exceeds those of the typical "Bais Yakov" (and it would be exceedingly rare for non-Chassidish girls’ schools to regularly refer their Talmidos to a male therapist)
3) Engaged in private, unsupervised counseling sessions with young girls -- often in an office/apartment that contained a working bedroom -- violating all norms of Yichud and Tzniyus.
In addition to all these disturbing facts, it has become clear that these serious allegations are in fact not isolated ones. In fact, since Mr. Weberman's arrest, I was personally contacted by immediate family members of four additional alleged victims of his who are afraid to come forward, and those of us close to the community have heard similar reports from others as well. [...]



21 comments :

  1. Yanky Horowitz is wrong on all counts:

    "1) Had unregulated access to many girls over a number of years in his inappropriate and illegal role as their unlicensed "therapist."

    1) There is nothing illegal about anyone seeing a non-therapist for help.

    "2) Had these young girls referred to him for counseling by very Chassidish schools, whose general level of gender separation far exceeds those of the typical "Bais Yakov" (and it would be exceedingly rare for non-Chassidish girls’ schools to regularly refer their Talmidos to a male therapist)"

    2) There is nothing illegal or unethical about a male helping females. Or vice versa. This done for children and adults thousands of times every day all over the country. Including by 100% frum Jews.

    "3) Engaged in private, unsupervised counseling sessions with young girls -- often in an office/apartment that contained a working bedroom -- violating all norms of Yichud and Tzniyus."

    3) There is no law or ethic that requires any visit be non-private or supervised. In fact, sessions are almost always private and non-supervised. Including sessions with children. Sessions are meant -- exactly -- to be private. Otherwise the child (or adult) wouldn't feel comfortable relating their issues. And with privacy is the normal way of conducting sessions.

    And, pray-tell, what is the difference between a working bedroom and a non-working bedroom? Other than Yanky trying to make it sound sinister. There is nothing wrong about there being a bedroom in the same office area as where the sessions are.

    All in all, Yanky is trying to make normal things sound sinister.

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    1. Dovid,

      "1) There is nothing illegal about anyone seeing a non-therapist for help"

      It certainly stinks and is very fishy especially with all the related circumstances.

      "And, pray-tell, what is the difference between a working bedroom and a non-working bedroom? Other than Yanky trying to make it sound sinister. There is nothing wrong about there being a bedroom in the same office area as where the sessions are."

      Why is there any bedroom in an area where private counseling between a male and a female is being conducted? I imagine you wouldn't dare to send any of your daughters to such a situation unless you were extremely naive.

      What about the parents that called Rabbi Horowitz to relate their own horror stories?

      Why was it necessary to have such a secluded and setup and not one in a regular office setting?

      It stinks to high heaven and you know it.

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    2. Reb Yanky is correctSeptember 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      Dovid:

      You are either Weberman or someone representing him in the blogosphere. According to the facts known so far, the behavior by Weberman is certainly questionable, and would be judged as unethical by any of the recognized mental health professions. Here is a play by play response to your comments.

      1. The unlicensed therapist issue. He has zero training in mental health, and is not a professional in this regard at any level. It is bad enough if people choose to go to him. But it seems that the girls' schools have been referring cases to him. One would expect that there be some check of his credentials and training before submitting a girl with issues to "treatment" by anyone.

      2. Male helping female issue. In the community of frum mental health professionals, there is a preference to avoid cross gender therapy situations. No one wants to have the shailos of yichud, and anyone with a recognized profession strives to adhere to the ethical standards that proscribe such questionable behavior. It is not uncommon for male therapists to take on female clients and vice versa, but all matters related to yichud are addressed openly. If you know any therapist who cuts corners on this, challenge them.

      3. Private and unsupervised sessions issue. What part of hilchos yichud do you fail to recognize?

      Your last belch about the bedroom stuff was bizarre to say it mildly. If someone has an office at home, there can be an office and bed in the same location. But to place a bed in an office is bizarre. That office was a location of many transgressions, certainly yichud, and certainly the violation of the innocence of many girls. The question remains whether Weberman was the only perpetrator of this, or was there another "holy" man using the office for unholy purposes. I have first hand knowledge of a second individual who used that office as a base for his "therapy" activities that were anything but helpful to his clients. May all perpetrators of such activity be exposed, expelled from our community, lose their freedom and recognition, and leave our precious generations of children alone.

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    3. what about the Yichud issue? That should be HUGE in the Satmar community.
      Also, a therapist seeing girls who isn't accountable to anyone does smell rancid

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    4. 1) It is illegal if he calls himself a therapist or a professional counselor.

      2) Even in the secular world there is wariness of adult males treating teenage girls. I really don't understand how he pulled off setting himself up as a therapist for young girls in the chassidish community.

      3) The law that requires that a session be non-private is called yichud. (Also, I suspect the original comment was in reference to PROFESSIONAL supervision, which is standard in the mental health profession, where therapists have supervisors with whom they discuss their cases and get input. I don't imagine this guy subjected himself to that level of scrutiny and professional standards.

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  2. Dovid is absolutely correct.

    R. Horowitz is falsely attempting to portray R. We
    berman as having done something illegal or commited some sort of crime in the three points Horowitz enumerated. As Dovid clearly illustrated, there is absolutely nothing illegal in any of those three issues.

    There is nothing untoward nor illegal in a non-therapist seeing someone to help them. Rabbi Weberman never advertised or represented himself as being a therapist or a mental health professional. In fact, it is quite common (and entirely legal) in the Chasidishe community for a non-therapist to see community members to assist them in various life issues and problems. And for a religious clergyman, such as Rabbi Weberman, this is true even moreso - and it is true even in religions other than Judaism.

    And I personally know many male and female therapists in the frum community who regularly see members of the opposite gender for therapy. This is somewhat common in the Litvishe community and somewhat less common in the Chassidishe community. Though it is very common and regular in the secular community and occurs without as much as anytone batting an eyelash in the medical community. So for Horowitz to imply some sort of illegality is entirely off-base and simply him looking to make false accusations.

    Rabbi Weberman NEVER violated yichud, as there was always someone else in the office building who had immediate and unannounced access to the office where he was seeing clients. Furthermore, there was never any bed in the office or in any area clients were in. There was simply a bedroom elsewhere in the building of the Home Office. (Which is a common setup.) It is quite despicable of Horowitz to imply otherwise.

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    1. Reb Yanky is correctOctober 4, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      Actually, Rabbi Horowitz is correct on all counts, and the facts are with him. As far as the illegality issue, I'm not the expert on the law, but it is without question that he was functioning outside of the purview of his training. It is one thing to use one's intuition to counsel, but to do this as a business and accept referrals on a regular basis without an ounce of training is unquestionably unethical. I place the same responsibility on those who referred cases to him.

      Unless someone has an airtight plan for avoiding yichud, gender matching for therapy is a requirement, and this is recognized in the secular world as well. Weberman did NOT have such a plan, and the reports that emerge are proof. Incidentally, I have personal knowledge of his having "consultations" with young women (above age 18, so not reportable) at 2:00 am! Yes, I spoke to him by phone as well as the women he was "helping".

      I have no clue what Weberman did in his "home office", but the notorious office where the alleged violations occurred was NOT a home office. It had another room where there was a bed and video equipment. Can anyone guess what purposes these served? Unless we work from home, I cannot fathom a bed in the office. And aren't videos assur in Satmar country?

      Again, Rabbi Horowitz is accurate.

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    2. New York State law does not regulate who can or cannot call themself a "therapist". Legally, anyone can.

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    3. Rabbi Weberman never advertised or called himself a therapist, in any event.

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  3. It was not too long ago that we had trolls who were defending Tropper, so those defending Weberman should be expected! Kudos to RabbiHorowitz for his courageous stand and while it's up to the courts to decide if Weberman actually had intercourse with this girl the best case scenario here does not look good for Weberman and his UTA employers. Satmar and Weberman got caught with their pants down (literally) and they have been exposed for putting the good name of their institutions ahead of the safety of their students!
    It must be a very unpleasant feeling to be exposed for being hypocritical and super fiscal!

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    1. How dare anyone dare offer defend Rabbi Weberman saying he is innocent? Doesn't anyone remember the Rabbi Baruch Lebovits case????? He too was defended and then found guilty!!!!

      Umm, err, wait, it later turned out to be false testimony by bribery... and he was freed from prison... err, never mind...

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    2. Abe - Lebovits was not found to be innocent. According to your logic anyone who has been found guilty must be innocent!

      http://forward.com/articles/155315/lebovits-abuse-conviction-is-overturned/

      An appeals court has reversed the child sex abuse conviction of Brooklyn travel agent Baruch Lebovits, who was sentenced in 2010 to up to 32 years in prison.

      Alan Dershowitz, chief counsel for Lebovits on appeal, called the unanimous reversal by a four-judge appellate panel a “total victory.”

      Lebovits was not acquitted outright but instead had his conviction reversed, which could allow the District Attorney to retry the case. But Dershowitz doubted prosecutors would be able to mount a new case.

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    3. Therefore he maintains the full 100% presumption of innocence under the eyes of the law (secular) AND Halacha.

      As such it is entirely correct to state that Rabbi Lebovits is innocent. It is as correct as stating that Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz is innocent of rape.

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    4. No. For example it is clear that he would not be hired as a teacher and if he was a teacher he would be fired - see Sho'el U'Meishiv.

      Sho’el U’Meishiv (1:185): Rumors spread about a certain teacher who had lived in that city for 8 years. Children that he had taught while they were young and now were 13 years or more older testified that he had sodomized them when they were younger. The previous summer a certain G d fearing man found out about this and was outraged and informed the rav of the community. However the rav did not want to accept this testimony… However the Maharik and the Terumas HaDeshen wrote and the Rema rules in Shulchan Aruch that in a situation where kosher witness are not necessary - then even a woman or child is believed. If so, in this matter it is definitely impossible for there to be adult males and it is impossible for there to be testimony in the matter. That is because without a doubt this man – even if he is wicked and dissolute – keeps his deeds secret and he only amuses himself with small children and claims he is only playing with them. Therefore it is obvious that they should be believed. However we are not trying to disqualify him from being a witness or making an oath but we only want to be able to say whether he perhaps did this. Our Sages said in Nida (61) that while it is prohibited to believe lashon harah, the concern aroused by it is required. And in Mo’ed Koton (18) they said that regarding bad talk – at least some of it is true. Therefore woe is to us that in our days such a thing happened that a man like this should be a teacher of children who are pure creatures and there is concern that he violated them. Therefore in my opinion it is appropriate to remove the crown of teacher from his head. They need to be concerned for their souls until he completely repents with appropriate afflictions and only then can he considered a full member of the community and it will be an atonement for his sins. Furthermore as long as he hasn’t confessed his sins then repentance is not possible as the Tevu’os Shor wrote in siman 2…. But in this case where there is testimony – even though it is not from kosher witnesses it is worth more than rumors and it is obvious he should be prevented from getting students to teach.

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    5. Is that really what the Halacha says? Here I have two individuals who I believe to be trustworthy, telling me that other victims approached them and let them know that they too were hurt by Weberman yet they aren't coming forth because they fear they too will be harrased if they do; and you are telling me that halacha requires that I don't believe them and that I assume Weberman is as innocent as Rabbi Horrowitz?
      Is that really what the Halacha says? Can you please give me the sources to that halacha?

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    6. And do you realize Abe that by accepting that Weberman is totally innocent, as innocent as Rabbi Horowitz, you are actually suggesting that this young woman has fabricated this lie from beginning to end. Now this is quite a strong accusation against this young woman. why do you feel that it is somehow more moral of us to consider Weberman innocent and his victim guilty of lying?

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  4. hopefully the charlatans and perverts who are on Misheres Hatznius will be exposed as well

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    1. Hopefully charlatans and perverts such as yourself will be exposed as well.

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    2. Abe, you are such a coward you can't even use your last name?

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    3. Here you go.

      Anything to make you happy.

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    4. @Abe Miller, was there any reason you made such a nasty and assine remark?

      Delete

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