KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHARLES J. HYNES
ANNOUNCES GRADUATION AND MOVING-UP CEREMONY FOR 14
PARTICIPANTS OF HIS BACK ON TRACK RESTART PROGRAM
INTENSIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR TRUANT AND
AT-RISK MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS PROVIDES SERVICES AND
ASSISTANCE TO HELP STUDENTS PASS THE MIDDLE SCHOOL EXAM, QUALIFYING
THEM TO ENROLL IN HIGH SCHOOL
June 26, 2012 –
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes
today announced the graduation and moving-up ceremony for 14
graduates of his Back
on Track ReStart program.
The middle-school students had difficulty in their
previous schools, including truancy, and had been held back
one or more times, so they were placed in this intensive
educational program, which provides assistance to help them
successfully pass the Middle School exam, so they can
qualify to enroll in high school.
They also received an array of services to help them
overcome other problems they had been experiencing.
Classes take place at
the Back on Track
ReStart Academy located at 2318 Atlantic Avenue in
District Attorney Hynes said, “Education is a key component
in getting kids to lead a successful, law-abiding life.
We have to reach them at an early age before negative
influences lead them astray.
a remarkable program that
addresses the dire need for school settings that encourage
and enhance attendance and the quality of education for
youth, ages 13 to 16, at risk of dropping out or
discontinuing school before receiving their high school
Back on Track is a
juvenile justice program aimed at steering at-risk youth
away from criminal activity.
It’s a one-stop shop for Brownsville residents, ages
seven to 21, who are chronically truant, involved with the
criminal justice system or considered at risk for dropping
out of school. A
full-time social worker works with the participants and
their families to make sure they get the help they need
including parenting workshops, GED classes, computer and
office skills training, vocational assistance, continuing
education, and substance abuse treatment.
is the educational component of the
Back on Track
students are between the ages of 13 and 16 and have been
held back one or more times, and as a result are in the 6th,
7th and 8th grades.
The Back on Track staff includes teachers provided by the Department of
Brooklyn District Attorney’s office provides a full-time
social worker who works directly with the students and their
families to ensure they get the delivery of services they
Many of these students have had high rates of truancy, that
have effected their level of scholastic achievement; some
are lacking parental motivation and support; there are court
involved youth, substance abusers and those at risk of
The program has been a success.
The students who were formerly truant and have come
from difficult backgrounds have been able to achieve a high
level of excellence in the first year of this groundbreaking
average reported test score for the students was previously
50%. It is now
70%. The average
attendance rate of the program participants is 89%.
Of the 14 students who were in the program, all have
completed it and are moving on to the next grade, including
all nine eighth-graders, who passed their middle school
exams and will be moving on to high school.
For those students who are moving on to high school,
Back on Track
staff will continue to monitor their progress periodically
for the next two years, which will include coordination with
their high school guidance counselors and their parents.
The combination of
educational resources and the resources of the District
Attorney’s Office, along with the social services provided
by Back on Track, has helped break the cycle of truancy.
Among the honorees is Rayshawn, who just graduated
from the eighth grade and will be starting high school in
the Fall. He
should be in the 11th grade but he got left back
Rayshawn attended PS 298.
He said, “The experience was really bad.
The teachers can’t really get to you. The teachers
don’t really care about what you do and how you act….You can
do anything you want in the school and they won’t care.”
ReStart because “they teach you how to socialize with other people.”
He explained that he likes the teachers because they
explain everything so well and you understand the work, and
they show him more attention.
Rayshawn is no longer truant.
He feels that the program has changed him in a
positive way and taught him how to control his behavior.
He is confident that he will keep up his progress.
Rayshawn aspires to do well in high school and embark
on a career as a scientist.
Another honoree from
also attended PS 298 before joining
She said that in her old school, “we could do
whatever we wanted to do.
We didn’t have to go to any classes….that’s why we
didn’t learn anything at all.”
Since joining ReStart, Chanell attends classes regularly, she has raised her
grades and she is on the honor roll.
She is happy to “finally get to the eighth grade” and
is looking forward to eventually moving on to high school.
The scholastic curriculum is under the
professional guidance of NYC Department of Education,
KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHARLES J. HYNES
ANNOUNCES INDICTMENTS OF FOUR MEN FOR ATTEMPTING TO IMPEDE
PROSECUTION IN SEX ABUSE CASE
DEFENDANTS TRIED TO INTIMIDATE AND BRIBE VICTIM AND
WITNESS WITH $500,000 TO DROP THE CASE
Brooklyn, June 21, 2012 –
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today
announced the indictment of four men for attempting to
impede the prosecution in the case against Nechemya
Weberman, 53, who is awaiting trial on charges of Course of
Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree.
Abraham Rubin, 48, was indicted on charges
including four counts of Bribing a Witness,
two counts of
Tampering with a Witness in the Fourth Degree and one count
of Coercion in the Second Degree.
If convicted, Rubin faces up to seven years in
indictment charges Rubin with trying to silence the victim
and her boyfriend, who was the outcry witness, and to get
them to drop the case by bribing them with $500,000, telling
them that they should drop the case because justice would be
Rubin even offered to provide an attorney to the witnesses
to counsel them on how to be uncooperative and make
themselves unavailable for the upcoming trial.
Rubin suggested that they flee the country to avoid
In a separate indictment, brothers Joseph, Jacob
and Hertzka Berger have been charged with Coercion in the
Joseph Berger was also charged with Aggravated Harassment in
the Second Degree.
Jacob Berger has been additionally charged with
Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree.
If convicted, Joseph and Hertzka Berger each face a
year in jail while Jacob Berger faces up to four years in
According to the indictment, the Bergers are charged with
attempting to pressure the victim and witness to not
cooperate with law enforcement.
In order to deter them from testifying, they
threatened to remove the rabbi-issued kosher certification
from the witness’ restaurant.
When the witness would not cave in to their pressure,
Jacob Berger went to the restaurant and physically tore down
the certification, the indictment alleges.
The defendants were arraigned today before Brooklyn
Supreme Court Justice John Walsh.
Bail was set for Abraham Rubin at $75,000.
Bail was set for Joseph, Jacob and Hertzkah Berger at
They are all required to turn in their passports.
District Attorney Hynes said, “Intimidation of
victims and witnesses in sex abuse cases in the Orthodox
community is what has made prosecuting these cases so
Victims were afraid to come forward because they would be
threatened and shunned in their communities.
My office spares no effort to conceal and protect the
identities of sex crimes victims, regardless of their
cultural or religious background.
Hopefully, these indictments serve as an example that
we will not tolerate individuals who try to interfere with
the pursuit of justice.”
In the case of
Nechemya Weberman, the defendant, who was the victim’s
therapist, is charged with sexually abusing the girl over
the course of three years inside his home/office, beginning
when she was 12 years old.
2009, District Attorney Hynes created an outreach program,
Project Kol Tzedek,
which means “Voice of Justice”, aimed at helping sex-crime
victims in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish Communities to report
abuse. Its goal is to
prosecute sexual predators while addressing the concerns of
Because of the insular nature of Orthodox Jewish
communities, and victims who are reluctant to report crimes
to secular authorities, this program goes a long way to
address those impediments, District Attorney Hynes has
Victims who call the Project Kol Tzedek hotline,
(718)250-3000, are not required to identify themselves.
They will speak with a culturally sensitive social
worker and a prosecutor from the Sex Crimes Bureau.
Prosecutors and social workers are available to meet with
victims in a comfortable environment to discuss their cases.
“Project Kol Tzedek’s strength is based on its partnerships
with community organizations, such as the Metropolitan
Council on Jewish Poverty, Ohel Children’s Home and Family
Services and Tikvah at Ohel, and Jewish Board of Family and
Children’s Services,” said District Attorney Hynes.
indictments of Rubin and Joseph, Jacob and Hertzka Berger
are the first cases to result from the formation of a task
force that District Attorney Hynes recently set up, which
includes Chiefs of the District Attorney’s Rackets and Sex
Crimes/Crimes Against Children Divisions, the DA’s Chief
Assistant and Chief Investigator, and the NYPD Deputy Chief
Commander of the Special Victims Division as well as NYPD
Today’s arrests were made by Detective Investigators William
Pettie and Michael Seminara.
George Terra is Assistant Chief Investigator.
Joseph Ponzi is Chief Investigator.
Deputy Chief Michael Osgood heads the NYPD’s Special
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a
cases are being prosecuted by Josh Hanshaft and Patricia
McNeill, Executive Assistants in the Rackets Division.
Michael Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Division.
KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHARLES J.
HYNES ANNOUNCES INDICTMENT OF SAMUEL MARTINEZ FOR THE MURDER
OF FOUR PEOPLE KILLED IN A 2006 FIRE
June 19, 2012 –
District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the
indictment of Samuel Martinez, 38, for the 2006 murder of
four people who died as a result of an arson fire. Samuel
Martinez is charged with Eight Counts of Murder in the
Second Degree, and faces 25-years-to-life in prison on each
like this cannot and will not be forgotten nor can a crime
like this go unpunished,”
said District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.
“This is the culmination of an exhaustive six-year
investigation led by FDNY Bureau of Fire Investigation, the
New York Police Department and my office, into a horrific
fire that claimed the lives of four people, including a
mother and her two young children.”
indictment charges that at 5:00 am on February 24, 2006, the
defendant set fire to the first floor of 1033 Pacific
Street, a four-story residential building in Crown Heights.
Investigators believe he frequented the building to
buy heroin from a tenant.
The fire quickly spread to the upper floors.
Williams, 23, died from a shattered spine, after she jumped
out the window of her fourth floor apartment.
below, Kassoum Fofana , his wife Assita Coulibaly, their
three-year-old daughter, Marian and one-year-old son,
Mohamed, were desperately trying to escape. The mother and
daughter were instantly engulfed in flames and died, as they
opened the door to the hallway.
Mr. Fofana and his son were trapped inside their
managed to break a window, he hung on from a brick ledge,
but was unable to keep his grip.
Mr. Fofana was rushed to the hospital in critical
small son died inside the apartment from the smoke and fire.
defendant was not charged with any additional crimes,
including the underlying arson charge, because the Statute
of Limitations had run out.
The defendant is expected to be arraigned today at 11:00 a.m. at Kings
County Supreme Court, Part 50, 320 Jay Street, Fourth floor.
The case is being prosecuted by Rackets Bureau Chief,
John Holmes and Assistant District Attorney Jessica Wilson.
Michael F. Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Bureau.