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Jewish rabbi punished for secretly filming women

WASHINGTON: A Washington rabbi who admitted to setting up cameras to spy on women as they prepared for Jewish ritual baths was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison, the Justice Department said.

Bernard “Barry” Freundel, 63, was sentenced on 52 counts of voyeurism after pleading guilty in February to videotaping the women from 2009 to 2014.

Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Alprin sentenced Freundel to 45 days in prison for each of his 52 victims. The full sentence is six and a half years, the Justice Department said.

Alprin said the rabbi’s actions were “a classic abuse of power and violation of trust.”

Freundel was immediately taken into custody, and started serving his sentence Friday.

Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said she hopes the sentence will help victims move on, calling Freundel a “predator.”

“His actions wounded an entire religious community and showed a flagrant disregard for his position of trust within that community,” Lanier said.

“I am confident that today’s action by the courts will serve to continue the healing process for the many unwitting victims of this predator.”

Freundel, rabbi of Kesher Israel Congregation located in the capital’s northwest, was arrested in October after a clock radio that contained a hidden recording device was discovered facing a shower area of the National Capital Mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath adjacent to Kesher Israel.

A search of his home and office at Towson University in nearby Baltimore turned up recordings of the women who were totally or partially undressed in the changing room of the mikvah.

In addition to the 52 women whom he was convicted of recording, computer forensic examinations revealed that Freundel secretly filmed about 100 more women in various states of undress, stretching back to 2009.

AFP

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