D.C. rabbi appears in court on voyeurism charges

WASHINGTON — A prominent D.C. rabbi is charged with using a hidden camera to videotape women at a mikvah, a ceremonial bath, in Georgetown.

Rabbi Barry Freundel has been charged with six counts of voyeurism after prosecutors say he used a camera disguised as a digital clock radio in the National Capital Mikvah during the ritual cleansing baths.

Freundel has served at the Kesher Israel Orthodox synagogue for 25 years, and also taught classes at the University of Maryland and Towson University.

The synagogue and Towson University have both suspended Freundel.

Court documents allege one of the women caught Freundel plugging in the device. Police were called, and they discovered video, which included six women in various stages of undress. Court records also claim several of the videos depict the rabbi positioning the camera.

On Tuesday, a search warrant was served at the rabbi’s home where more “storage devices” and a manual for the camera were said to be found. He was arrested by D.C. police.

The rabbi appeared before a D.C. Superior Court judges with a yamulka on his head and shackles around his feet on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. When speaking on the charges, prosecutor Sharon Marcus-Kurn said the investigation is only beginning and that the rabbi violated laws “to the heavens and down.”

“I was wondering why there was a digital clock in the bathroom,” said Emma Shulevitz, who said she went through the mikvah in 2005. Shulevitz and her husband, Jeffrey, said they went to police when they realized she may be a victim. When shown a picture, she said she remembered the clock radio.

Freundel said nothing after being released by the judge. His lawyer, Jeffrey Harris, wouldn’t say much about the case — only that “it’s the beginning of a process and you’ll see what I have to say as time goes on.”

Freundel must check in with the court once a week and must stay away from the synagogue and the mikvah. He’ll be back in court Nov. 12.

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