Barry Freundel May Have Peeped on More Women — Prosecutors Create Web Site

Prosecutors reportedly said that there could be more victims in the Rabbi Barry Freundel mikveh peeping scandal at his hearing today in a Washington D.C. court.

Freundel was arrested nearly a month ago on charges that he secretly recorded women showering in the mikveh at his synagogue.

At the status hearing, government prosecutors told the judge that they were still investigating Freundel’s case, and were unprepared to offer a plea deal yet.

“There may be numerous victims we don’t know about,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky said, according to the Washington Post.

The Washington Post reported that one attorney representing a potential Freundel victim was present at the hearing.

According to the Washington Jewish Week, one of the six victims already identified by prosecutors was also there. The paper said that no members of Freundel’s family appeared to be in attendance.

Freundel pleaded not guilty on October 15 to charges of voyeurism. He has been suspended by the Rabbinical Council of America and by his synagogue, Kesher Israel.

The RCA says that it knew of charges in 2012 that Freundel had behaved inappropriately in his role overseeing conversions, but that he was not barred from working with converts and his synagogue was not informed.

During a hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky told Senior Judge Patricia Wynn that her office had created a section on the Justice Department’s website for alleged victims.

The section asks possible victims to contact the U.S. Attorney’s office with any information.

No plea offer was made and the investigation is continuing, said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wynn also ordered Freundel, who is free on his own recognizance, not to leave the country, Miller said.

The court has ordered Freundel to stay away from people he had helped convert to Judaism and participated with in the Jewish ritual bathing process known as mikvah, according to court documents.

He was also ordered to stay away from the Kesher Israel synagogue and the National Capital Mikvah. Freundel’s congregation has included Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

Calls seeking comment from Freundel’s attorney, Jeffrey Harris, were not immediately returned. A status hearing is set for Jan. 16.

With Reuters


Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.

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