Washington rabbi pleads guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism

Rabbi Barry Freundel was accused of installing video cameras to spy on women in the bathing area of his Orthodox synagogue.

By REUTERS
February 19, 2015 23:06
1 minute read.
rabbi

Rabbi Barry Freundel leave courthouse, February 19, 2015. (photo credit: screenshot)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - A prominent Washington rabbi charged with secretly videotaping women during ritual baths pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism on Thursday.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, 63, was accused of installing video cameras to spy on women in the bathing area of his Orthodox synagogue, Kesher Israel Congregation, in Washington's upscale Georgetown neighborhood.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"Guilty," Freundel, a bearded figure wearing glasses and a yarmulke, said when asked how he pleaded by District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Alprin.

Prosecutors said the Brooklyn-born Freundel, who headed the synagogue for 25 years, hid cameras in an area where women disrobed for the ritual Jewish bath, known as a mikvah.

Each of the 52 counts of voyeurism, a misdemeanor, carries a penalty of a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 or $2,500, depending on when the offense occurred.

Freundel is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15.

Prosecutors said that up to about 150 women may have been videotaped while they prepared for the private bath.



The mikvah is used most frequently as purification by people converting to Judaism and by Jewish women seven days after the end of their menstrual cycle.

Kesher Israel fired Freundel in December. His congregation has included Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

The US Attorney's Office created a web page on the Justice Department's website asking alleged victims to come forward with any information.

Freundel is barred from leaving the country. He has been ordered to stay away from people he had helped convert to Judaism and participated with in the bathing ritual process, according to court documents.

He was also ordered to stay away from the Kesher Israel synagogue and the National Capital Mikvah.

Related Content

Madonna
August 16, 2018
60 years with the queen of pop: Madonna's colorful Jewish culture

By TAMAR BEERI