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Four accused of bribery in sex abuse case

June 21, 2012 1:44:31 PM PDT
It was chaotic at times outside the courthouse as members of this Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community hid their faces and tried to protect their own.

Four of them are charged in an alleged scheme to offer half a million dollars in hush money to the teenager who's accusing their prominent counselor, Nechemya Weberman, with sexual abuse over 3 years in Williamsburg allegedly beginning when the girl was only 12.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes says this is a community where intimidation has been routine. In fact, just last month, this sect had a large fundraiser for Weberman, not his alleged victim. Prosecutors told us that victims often fear they'll be banished from their community.

"They know that their children are thrown out of yeshiva schools. They could lose their apartment," Hynes said.

In this case, 3 of the 4 suspects are brothers - Jacob, Joseph and Hertzka Berger. The fourth, Abraham Rubin, is facing the most severe charge of bribing a witness and tampering.

"They all deny the allegations. They are obviously going to be fighting these cases vehemently," defense attorney Bruce Wenger said.

Meanwhile, there's no evidence that any money from last month's fundraiser for Weberman was used in the alleged bribery.

His attorney issued a statement, saying "Mr. Weberman had no prior knowledge of or involvement with these deplorable acts, which, if true, are reprehensible."

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