A Washington, D.C. synagogue has reached a settlement with people who filed a class action lawsuit after the synagogue’s former rabbi secretly videotaped women in the mikvah ritual bath.
If the court approves the settlement, the cases would be resolved on a class-wide basis for $14.25 million, rather than the $100 million originally sought, according to a statement by the synagogue, Kesher Israel.
Rabbi Barry Freundel was fired from his post and arrested in 2014 for using a hidden camera to spy on women in the mikvah, many of them naked. He eventually pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
Kesher Israel and other institutional defendants moved to dismiss the class-action cases in August 2016, has arguing that it has no prior knowledge of Freundel’s voyeurism. Kesher itself, along with co-defendant the National Capital Mikvah, had immediately reported his illegal activity to law enforcement upon discovery. It also immediately suspended and then fired Freundel.
Plaintiffs soon after began to inter into settlement discussions. The payments will be covered by insurance.