‘The Devil of Williamsburg’

This article was first published as “New e-book examines Brooklyn’s Hasidic ‘Devil'” in The Times of Israel.

Nechemya Weberman, second from left, is led into a New York City courtroom in January. (photo credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Nechemya Weberman, second from left, is led into a New York City courtroom in January. (photo credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Journalist Allison Yarrow may have titled her bestselling new e-book “The Devil of Williamsburg” after the Hasidic spiritual counselor sentenced last January to 103 years in a New York prison. But she wrote the tome for his victim.

 “I feel really humbled to have the privilege to witness and tell her incredible story,” Yarrow says of the female teen sexually abused by Nechemya Weberman. “I wanted to shed light on the horrors that happened to her so that they don’t happen again.”

In her 30-page work of investigative journalism, Yarrow, a contributor to Time, recounts how Weberman committed his crimes against Rayna (a pseudonym), who was first abused at 12, testified in court at 17 and is now married and living outside the Hasidic community at 18. (Yarrow employs a fake name because the victim’s real identity has been sealed by the courts).

“The Devil of Williamsburg” also documents how Weberman’s November 2012 trial unfolded, as well as its aftermath. Yarrow provides crucial context, explaining the cultural, religious and educational norms of Weberman’s Satmar Hasidic community, and how they contributed to the cover-up of his predatory behavior.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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