Voyeurism Sends Rabbi Away for 6-Plus Years


WASHINGTON, D.C. (CN) – A once-prominent Georgetown rabbi who admitted to secretly videotaping dozens of women in a Jewish ritual bath was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison on Friday.
     Rabbi Bernard “Barry” Freundel acknowledged as part of a plea agreement in February that he secretly recorded more than 150 women over several years.
     Prosecutors were barred by the statute of limitations to charge him in connection with every recording, but he ultimately pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism.
     Friday’s three-hour sentencing hearing Friday involved more than a dozen women telling the D.C. Superior Court of how they’ve suffered since learning of the rabbi’s betrayal.
     Judge Geoffrey Alprin called Freundel ‘s actions “a classic abuse of power and violation of trust.”
     Freundel led the Kesher Israel synagogue in Georgetown for 25 years before he was arrested on Oct. 14, 2014, after one of his recording devices was discovered hidden inside a clock radio.
     He told prosecutors that he started setting up hidden cameras in the changing and showering area of the National Capital Mikvah – a cleansing bath – in 2009.
     Freundel acknowledged that the clock radio was only one of his hiding places, that he also placed recording devices in a fan and a tissue box holder, and that he sometimes used as many as three cameras to capture women from different angles.
     His recordings captured woman undressing, using the toilet and entering and exiting a shower, prosecutors said.
     Freundel was fired from the synagogue following his arrest.

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