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New York Hasidic counselor found guilty of child sexual abuse

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor was found guilty of sexually abusing a young female patient in the insular Brooklyn community where they lived, prosecutors said on Monday.

A jury in New York State Supreme Court convicted Nechemya Weberman, 54, of sexual conduct against a child, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces 117 years behind bars when sentenced on January 9.

The trial centered on a three-year period starting in 2007 when the victim's parents hired Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, to counsel their 12-year-old daughter. Prosecutors have said that over the next several years, Weberman sexually abused the girl, mostly in his office.

"The victim showed great courage to come forward in a very difficult time," Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement announcing the verdict. "Hopefully, this verdict will lead to the understanding for other women that they can come forward as well."

The trial was marred by accusations of witness intimidation. At one point, four men were accused of photographing the victim in court, then posting her image on Twitter. The identity of victims in sex abuse cases is typically protected.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Paul Thomasch)

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