Nechemya Weberman, an esteemed religious counselor in New York's Hasidic Jewish community, was sentenced in January to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a young girl who came to him for guidance about her faith. Now the story of Weberman's transgressions is being told in a new book called "The Devil of Williamsburg."
Author Allison Yarrow joined HuffPost Live's Mike Sacks to discuss what she learned about the man who was convicted of 59 counts of sexually abusing a minor.
Weberman's trial sparked a wave of controversy among a religion known for its carefully composed way of life.
"These are the Satmars. They are a sect of ultra-religious Jews that have very strict rules," Yarrow said. "They have strict rules of dress. They have strict codas of marriage and children and family. When something goes wrong of this magnitude, it's really not discussed."
The situation was complicated by the support Weberman received from the Satmar community despite the egregious charges against him.
"Nechemya Weberman had, in addition to being arrested and accused of these crimes, a number of Satmars sort of rallied together and they raised money for his legal fees -- a big show of support for him despite these charges," Yarrow said.
At the core of the story is the victim, called Rayna in "The Devil of Williamsburg" because her identity was sealed by the court. She was abused from the ages of 12 to 15, and Yarrow said the girl initially didn't realize that what Weberman was doing was wrong because she had been sent to him for religious counseling.
"This is typical of sex abuse cases and victim and perpetrator relationships, that she had affection for him, of course, because she was seeing him so regularly," Yarrow said. "He was validating all of her concerns about the community. He was saying, 'You're a beautiful young woman, you're going to grow up and be a wife, and you're going to have a fantastic life in this community, but I value you.' And she had these absent parents who just weren't around."
Watch the full interview about Nechemya Weberman's crimes at HuffPost Live HERE.