Thursday, September 15, 2011
A rabbi convicted of molesting his juvenile daughter has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison — the same penalty he received before his successful appeal
Israel Weingarten, 61, was convicted in March 2009 of five counts involving sexual abuse by a jury in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. He's being held in prison. Jurors found that he took his daughter out of the United States to Israel and Belgium for the purpose of sexually abusing her during the spring and summer of 1997. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2011 tossed one of the five convictions against Weingarten and ordered him to be resentenced. The panel reversed the conviction on the count involving Weingarten's travel from Belgium to Israel with his daughter, on the basis that the law requires the travel to be from or to the United States. Judge John Gleeson resentenced Weingarten to 30 years on the four counts. Originally, Gleeson sentenced Weingarten to 10 years each of three of the counts and the two others ran concurrently. Weingarten's appeal was based largely on the grounds that he was forced to represent himself at trial and did not voluntarily waive his constitutional rights to an attorney, according to his lawyers. His appeals lawyer had said that he had hoped Weingarten's sentence would have been reduced to 20 years. During the trial, his daughter, then 27, a son and their mother testified against Weingarten, who then questioned them. Two other daughters testified on his behalf and accused their mother of molesting their older sister. Prior to the sentencing, the victim and her older brother, 29, read statements detailing the horrors of being physically and mentally abused by their father. Weingarten traveled extensively as he taught children for the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community. He ran a Satmar school in Belgium and worked for religious elementary and secondary schools in Brooklyn.