Rabbi Charged With Voyeurism Fired From Synagogue - NBC4 Washington

Rabbi Charged With Voyeurism Fired From Synagogue

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    An Orthodox rabbi accused of recording women in the ritual bath area has been fired from his synagogue in Georgetown.

    Rabbi Barry Freundel is charged with six counts of voyeurism. He arrested in October, when he was accused of recording at least several women at a ritual bath next to the Kesher Israel Orthodox Synagogue.

    A witness said Freundel installed a camera disguised as a digital clock radio in the showering and changing area of the National Capital Mikvah, and pointed the device at the shower.

    Freundel was the rabbi at the Kesher Israel Orthodox synagogue in Georgetown, which is affiliated with the mikvah. He was suspended from the synagogue after the allegations surfaced.

    Prosecutors Search for More Potential Victims of D.C. Rabbi Charged With Voyeurism

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    News 4's Chris Gordon reports on Wednesday's hearing for a D.C. rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women during religious baths.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014)

    Officials at Kesher Israel announced Monday that they terminated Freundel's contract last week. He has been asked to vacate the rabbinic residence by Jan. 1.

    "The alleged acts leading to this step were a gross violation of law, privacy, halakha [Jewish religious law], and trust," a statement from Kesher Israel's board of directors read in part. "...Our collective heart breaks for the consequences, both seen and unseen, of these alleged acts to all the potential victims and our entire community.

    The National Capital Mikvah (NCM) has also terminated Freundel as the mikvah's supervising rabbi.

    "We strongly condemn Rabbi Freundel's alleged actions. They breached not only the sanctity of our holy space, but also the trust placed in him by the NCM Board and our community," a statement from the NCM board of directors read in part. " From the police reports, it appears that Rabbi Freundel exploited the access to our mikvah afforded by his religious position to violate the privacy of women who trusted him."

    Detectives have been reviewing about 10 years' worth of video seized from Freundel's home and computers in an attempt to identify additional potential victims.

    Women who are worried they may be victims have been told to submit a photograph to detectives. Other possible victims can contact the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Stephanie Doucette is afraid she may have fallen victim to Freundel.

     

    "I, as well as other women, have had to submit head shots to the police department and it might take weeks before we find out if videotaped footage of us was found," Doucette previously told News4. "It's scary, waiting for a phone call to see whether your rabbi videotaped you naked."

    Freundel was charged after another woman, Emma Shulevitz, reported her fears that she had been caught on camera and went public.

    Freundel is due for a court hearing Jan. 16. He has pleaded not guilty to voyeurism.

    Since his arrest, police found additional micro cameras hidden inside regular objects, including a tissue box and a clock at his office at Towson University, where he taught classes. Police also found hard drives, memory cards and a handwritten list of names.