US/World News

Mikvah-peeping rabbi released from prison early

(JTA) – Rabbi Barry Freundel, a once-prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C., who was convicted for secretly videotaping women in his synagogue’s mikvah, was released on Wednesday, March 31. Amy Zubrensky, an assistant U.S. attorney, alerted Freundel’s victims on Wednesday with an email. Because of “swiftly moving events,” she wrote, “I just learned this morning that he will be released from D.C. jail today.”

Freundel was sentenced in May 2015 to 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, and his original date for release was to have been toward the end of 2021. With time off for good behavior, he was scheduled for release on April 15. But last week, Zubrensky alerted Freundel’s victims that he might be released sooner than April 15 because of the coronavirus pan-demic. She asked the women if they had objections, and at least one victim did because the notion of Freundel enjoying Passover, the festival of freedom, next week was painful to her.

Zubrensky in her note to victims explained that emergency coronavirus legislation enacted by the District of Columbia allowed the Department of Corrections to expand time off allocated for good behavior in order to release prisoners earlier than scheduled. Freundel will not be subject to super-vision or required to register as a sex offender, she added, because voyeurism is not among the of-fenses listed under the D.C. Sex Offender Registration law. 

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