Defense for former Iowa Hillel director seeks to exclude witnesses’ testimony in sexual abuse case

The defense in the case of David Weltman, who’s charged with sexually abusing a minor, seeks to exclude testimony from four witnesses in the trial — including testimony from Weltman’s ex-girlfriend and another minor.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by James

The Johnson County Courthouse as seen on Sept. 12, 2017. (James Year/The Daily Iowan)

Kayli Reese, Managing News Editor

The former Iowa Hillel director — who has pleaded not guilty to charges against him for sexually abusing a minor — is asking the court to exclude testimony from his case that would be “irrelevant” or build prejudice against him to a jury, which would include testimony from Weltman’s ex-girlfriend and another minor. 

David Weltman, 29, of Skokie, Illinois, is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old boy during Hebrew lessons at the Hillel House in Iowa City sometime between February and March. He was charged Sept. 19.

The defense filed a motion in limine — a request that specific testimony be excluded from the case — that stated, “The defendant has reason to believe that the state of Iowa intends to introduce evidence, whether testimonial, real, or otherwise, that would be highly prejudicial and with little or no probative value, and that would be irrelevant and immaterial to any material issues in the above captioned case.”

A hearing to discuss the motion will be held in conjunction with a case-management conference at 9 a.m. Jan. 9. 

Of the six witnesses the state plans to use, the defense listed four witnesses whose testimony they feel should be not be used in the trial. 

RELATED: Former Iowa Hillel director pleads not guilty to sexual abuse

According to court documents, Weltman and his ex-girlfriend, Nilie Krausz, began dating in September 2017 and were together for about eight-and-a-half months. During that time, the documents state Weltman told Krausz “that he was sexually attracted to 7-12 year old boys and that he had urges to do sexual things with them.” He also told her he watched films that included nude children and masturbated to them.

Weltman refused to go to counseling at Krausz’s suggestions, and she was then hesitant about continuing the relationship, as she wanted to have children someday. She called the Iowa City police in October 2018 to express her concerns about Weltman, documents state. 

The defense stated in the motion that Krausz’s testimony — which would include statements and email from Weltman to her  — would be irrelevant information to the case and will “inflame the passions of the jury.”

The motion also resists the use of testimony regarding events that took place on a trip to Israel from March 13-24, which is after the alleged victim’s abuse is said to have occurred. Any statements or actions Weltman made during this trip, the defense argues, is irrelevant because it occurred after the alleged incident. 

Witness testimony from a minor would involve statements on Weltman’s actions during the Israel trip, the defense’s motion states.

RELATED: After sexual-abuse allegations, former Iowa Hillel Foundation director no longer a Hillel employee

The fourth witness, Roseanne Van Cura, would testify as to statements made by the alleged abuse victim during an interview. Any of Van Cura’s testimony would be hearsay, the defense argued in the motion. 

The state wrote in response to the motion that anything Weltman said or did around witnesses around the time of the alleged incident could show “motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, or absence of mistake of accident.”

The state also responded that witness testimony could prove that Weltman’s contact with the alleged abuse victim was sexual in nature, and the value of the evidence is greater than any potential prejudice it may bring. 

If the defense’s motion is granted, the state’s case would have to “substantially change,” according to court documents. 

Weltman’s trial date is currently set for 9 a.m. Jan. 28 in Johnson County.