Kids of rabbi convicted of sex crimes defend dad

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A Monsey rabbi was found guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing his daughter for years, but his other children say their father is innocent.

Rabbi Israel Weingarten's 27-year-old daughter says the abuse started when she was 9 years old and continued throughout her teenage years. She says that her father had even taken her out of the country to Belgium and Israel to commit the crimes.

Weingarten's other children, however, cast the blame on their mother, saying she brainwashed the older sister. They also blame their father's attorney and the justice system for the rabbi's downfall.

"They never asked the children what happened in this house," says the rabbi's son Yoli Weingarten. "This is the biggest evidence that they can have."

According to the rabbi's children, in their ultra-orthodox family and community sex is not discussed and neither is sexual abuse. Therefore, they believe it was difficult for their father to prove his innocence.

"I wasn't so surprised when they said the word 'guilty' because they didn't get a clear picture at all," Yoli Weingarten says.

The victim of the abuse, however, said inside the courtroom that justice has been served, and she encouraged other victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

Weingarten faces 17 years behind bars. His children, however, are determined to appeal his conviction and prove his innocence. Weingarten is expected to be sentenced April 3.

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