This is Rabbi Israel Weingarten. He was supposed to be a man of God – a teacher, spiritual adviser and a leader in the Ultra Orthodox Hassidic community of Sat Mar. Instead, Rabbi Israel Weingarten was a bully, a child abuser, and a pedophile. From this point forward, I’m going to drop the “Rabbi” from his name in my write up, because he has given up his right to wear such an honorable title.
What Weingarten did was travel between England, Belgium, Israel and the United States with his daughter, sexually assaulting her at his leisure, and leaving a community at the first sign that people were becoming suspicious of his relationship with the young girl. For example Weingarten left the Sat Mar community in Belgium in 1997 because he feared that community leaders there suspected him of abusing his daughter and would report him.
The feds say that in 2003, when Weingarten lived in Kiryas Joel, he and some of his friends “forcibly removed the Kiryas Joel public safety director from the Weingarten home when he attempted to investigate a tip that one of Weingarten’s daughters (not the sexual-abuse victim) was screaming in pain.”
Court papers also say that when Weingarten’s sister-in-law filed assault charges against him in 2002, “she received threatening phone calls telling her that she would be arrested unless she dropped the charges.” The papers also say he branded his accuser a “fantasizer,” so that her complaints would be taken as childish fantasies.
The abuse ended in 1999, when the daughter was 18. She had been going to school in London and refused to leave England to return home during the holidays. Weingarten attempted to kidnap her from a family which was trying to protect her. During the attempted kidnapping Weingarten forced his way into the home of the head rabbi of the school and assaulted the rabbi and his wife.
Afterwards the daughter fully broke from her family and from the Sat Mar community. She reported her father’s abuse to the FBI in 2003. It was a long, complicated and difficult investigation, and it was nearly four years before prosecutors were ready to put the hammer down on Izzy Weingarten.
On October 3rd, 2008, FBI agents went to arrest Israel Weingarten, 58, at his Monsey, New York home on a Federal Grand Jury indictment charging him with five federal counts, accusing him of traveling around the world to have sex with the minor and avoid being charged.
The actual arrest turned out to be more difficult than they thought it would be, because Izzy decided to barricade himself inside his house, and refused to come out. FBI agents finally forced their way in, searched the home, and found Weingarten hiding in his bedroom. Since he’s considered a very serious flight risk, he’s being held without bail.
On Monday, March 1st, 2009, Israel Weingarten’s trial began in Brooklyn Federal Court in New York City. After 6 years, his daughter, who had changed her name, finally faced the father who had sexually assaulter her for most of her life. She testified about the first time Weingarten molested her:
The family was all in the kitchen while my mother was heating up some chicken soup, and my father called me into a bedroom and assaulted me.
She told the court from that day on, her father abused her in their homes in NY and Belgium. She said she was even abused during a trip to Brooklyn when Weingarten’s father was on his deathbed.
“My father abused me that very night,” she sobbed.
I asked him, how could he have the heart to do that when his father is passing?
Weingarten, who is acting as his own attorney, exposed himself as an arrogant, cruel bully during the crossexamination of his daughter. He hollered at her, scolded her, interrupted her in mid question and repeatedly caused her to break into tears, until Judge John Gleason finally exploded in anger.
“Mr. Weingarten, if anybody is going to admonish the witness it’s going to be me,” he thundered. “You have created a fairly untenable, horrific situation by deciding to represent yourself. “Now, I’m not sure where this crossexamination is going, but I know you are not going to lecture this witness.”
Weingarten asked his daughter details of Jewish law, whether a window was open or shut, and the floor plan of a home in Belgium where he is accused of abusing her years ago. “You had me there every day, naked, I did not notice if the window was open or not,” she shot back. “I was kept by you in the bedroom, naked all the time.”
This mental haranguing went on for thee days, but at no point did the victim story waiver one iota.
Izzy’s son also testified for his sister against his father. Yoineson Weingarten testified that his father tried to manipulate him into making false statements that he was having sex with his sister.
“I know about things between you and your sister and I want you to record that for your mom,” Yoineson said his father told him.
Yoineson said his father repeatedly pressured him to help clear his name, even though he suspected that his father was having an improper relationship with his sister.
“It was not clear at the time, with your brainwashing, who to believe, you or my sister. You terrorized my life,” Yoineson said to his father as he was cross-examining him.
Faige Weingarten, testified that she found her ex-husband in her daughter’s bed one night when she was 16.
Faige recalled a Friday night when she had gotten into an argument with her ex-husband while they were living in Belgium, and she had slept in a different room. She said she heard their infant child crying so she went to the bedroom, where she found her then-husband in bed with their then-16-year old daughter.
Faige, who waived her spousal privilege, told the judge yesterday that her then-husband said to her, “look, we are dressed,” but she said the covers were half way down and she saw that the middle of his body was naked.
Faige said a few days later her daughter told her that her father had sodomized her. “She became disgusted for the rest of her life, he made her life disgusting,” she told the judge.
The trial is continuing,, and PYSIH is following the proceedings closely and will update this story as soon the verdict is read.