Government Recommends 17-Year Sentence for Rabbi Barry Freundel in Voyeurism Case

Prosecutors recommended a prominent Orthodox rabbi who pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism serve a 208-month sentence.

Bernard "Barry" Freundel is due in court for sentencing May 15. 

In addition to his guilty plea, Freundel did not dispute prosecutors' claims he taped an additional 100 women. He could not be charged in those cases because they happened earlier than the three-year statute of limitations.

The case stunned D.C.'s Orthodox community, particularly because the women were taped while taking ritual baths associated with rites of family purity and conversion at the National Capital Mikvah, a ritual bathhouse affiliated with Freundel's former synagogue.

Freundel was the rabbi at Georgetown's Kesher Israel synagogue for a quarter-century before he was arrested last fall, accused of hiding a video camera inside a clock radio and pointing it at a shower at the mikvah.

Freundel acknowledged that he also used recording devices hidden in a fan and tissue box holder and in some instances "utilized up to three recording devices at the same time to obtain different angles of each woman being recorded."

Prosecutors said Freundel meticulously labeled the recordings.

"It is obvious from the sheer volume of recordings and the elaborate filing system he created that the defendant spent hundreds of hours watching and otherwise organizing the videos," prosecutors wrote.

One victim, Emma Shulevitz, said that when she went to the Capital Mikvah to convert to Judaism in 2012, Freundel told her not to put anything in front of the clock radio as she undressed. She said she felt betrayed after learning it contained a hidden camera.

Freundel was arrested Oct. 14, the morning after police raided his home and seized computer equipment, including several media storage devices.

Freundel was fired in the wake of his arrest, and the National Capital Mikvah also severed ties with him.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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