Posters have gone up in an Orthodox Jewish area of Brooklyn advertising a fundraiser to help a man who has been accused of child molestation.
The signs are in Yiddish and Hebrew and promote Wednesday's event for Nechemya Weberman, who is accused of abusing a 16-year-old girl. Weberman was arrested last year after the girl said he forced her to perform oral sex and other acts during counseling meetings.
Residents in the tight-knit community said Tuesday that Weberman is well known and respected, referring to him as a sort of informal rabbi.
"He's a great guy, he's a rabbi over here around town. He does a lot of good things over here," said Joe, who would not give his last name. "I never would believe such a thing on Earth."
Hershy Deutsch, a friend of the accuser, said the community is simply denying what happened. He says the girl maintains she was abused for years.
"I watch this girl every day, how she cries from pain, emotional pain. Emotional pain is something you can't go away from," he said.
Deutsch is planning to protest the fundraiser at the Continental Catering Hall.
Weberman's attorney, George Farkas, said Weberman "totally, completely, 100 percent denies any guilt whatsoever."
His next court date is set for June 14.
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