$100M Lawsuit Hits Peeping-Tom Rabbi and Institutions
By August 29, 2016 0 1200•
A $100-million class-action lawsuit has been leveled against Rabbi Bernard “Barry” Freundel, the Georgetown rabbi arrested in 2014 for six acts of voyeurism. Freundel filmed women disrobing before immersing themselves in the National Capital Mikvah, constructed at his direction in 2005.
A mikvah is a ritual bath that married Orthodox women use after their monthly menstruation. Immersion is a final step in a woman’s conversion to Judaism.
The suit, filed on behalf of all women who used the National Capital Mikvah prior to Freundel’s arrest, as well as the 152 victims positively identified in connection with his arrest, also names the religious institutions that put Freundel in positions of authority: National Capital Mikvah, Inc.; the Georgetown Synagogue – Kesher Israel Congregation, 2801 N St. NW, where he was employed for 25 years; and the New York-based Rabbinical Council of America and Beth Din of America — all of which have severed ties with Freundel.
The prominent rabbi admitted his crimes and issued a letter of apology that opened: “No matter how many times I attempt to apologize, it will never be enough.” Freundel plead guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
According to prosecutors, additional videos were found at Freundel’s residence showing him engaged in sexual situations with women who were likely unaware they were being filmed. Freundel’s wife, Sharon, left him within three weeks of his arrest. He quickly acceded to her wish for a get, the document that dissolves a marriage in accordance with Orthodox Jewish law.