US/World News

Mikvah-peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel’s sentence reduced

By Josefin Dolsten/(JTA) – The jail sentence of Rabbi Barry Freundel, a once-prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C. who secretly filmed women in his synagogue’s mikvah, has been shortened by over a year due to good behavior, his lawyer said. Freundel’s 6 1/2-year sentence also was reduced because he participated as an instructor in a program to educate other inmates, the attorney, Jeffrey Harris, told JTA on April 26.

Freundel, 66, who began serving his sentence in May 2015, was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, a charge that carries up to a year’s incarceration. The sentencing judge ordered Freundel to serve 45 days on each count, with the sentences to be served consecutively. Prior to his arrest in 2014, Freundel was the longtime rabbi of Kesher Israel in the Georgetown section of Washington 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 synagogue, candidates for conversion to Judaism and students at Towson University in Maryland, where Freundel taught classes on religion and ethics.

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