Mikveh-Peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel Loses Appeal of 6-Year Prison Sentence by the Forward

Mikveh-Peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel Loses Appeal of 6-Year Prison Sentence

() — A federal appeals court upheld the prison sentence of Rabbi Barry Freundel, a once-prominent modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C., who secretly videotaped women in his synagogue’s mikvah.

Freundel, 64, who began serving his sentence in May 2015, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, a charge that carries up to a year in jail.

The sentencing judge had ordered Freundel to serve 45 days on each count, with the sentences to be served consecutively. Freundel’s attorney had argued on appeal that the sentences should run concurrently, meaning Freundel serve 45 days.

A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld Freundel’s sentence in a unanimous 20-page ruling.

Before his arrest in 2014, Freundel was the longtime rabbi of Kesher Israel in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., and an active member of the Rabbinical Council of America, an Orthodox rabbinic group.

Freundel is believed to have violated the privacy of at least 150 women, whom he filmed while they undressed and showered at the mikvah, or ritual bath, including members of his Orthodox synagogue, candidates for conversion to Judaism and students at Towson University in Maryland, where Freundel taught classes on religion and ethics. The rabbi also secretly filmed a domestic violence abuse victim in a safe house he had set up for her.

Last September, shortly before the Jewish High Holidays, he issued a letter of apology.

“My preference would be to apologize individually to each person I have hurt,” Freundel wrote. “However, I recognize that reaching out to convey my regret could cause further harm to some and that such contact would be unwelcome. Therefore, I thought that the only solution would be to apologize publicly.”


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Mikveh-Peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel Loses Appeal of 6-Year Prison Sentence

Thank you!

This article has been sent!