Lawyer for Rabbi in Voyeurism Case Says His Client Doesn't Deserve Prison

A lawyer for a once-prominent Orthodox rabbi who pleaded guilty to secretly videotaping scores of women in a changing room of a Jewish ritual bath says he shouldn't go to prison.

Bernard Freundel's lawyer wrote in a court document filed Friday ahead of his May 15 sentencing that putting him behind bars isn't necessary and that he should instead do community service. Prosecutors have recommended that Freundel spend more than 17 years in prison.

Freundel acknowledged as part of a plea agreement in February that he secretly recorded more than 150 women over several years.

The case has 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.

A statute of limitations would have barred prosecutors from charging Freundel for every recording, however, and he pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, each count punishable by up to a year in jail.

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