WASHINGTON – A prominent Orthodox rabbi acknowledged Thursday that for years he videotaped women at a Jewish ritual bath, recording more than 150 women as they changed clothes and got in and out of a shower.
Barry Freundel pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism during a hearing at D.C. Superior Court. Each count is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Freundel, 63, was a rabbi at the Kesher Israel synagogue in Washington for over 25 years before his arrest in October. At the time, court documents accused him of setting up a recording device disguised as a digital clock radio in the changing and showering area of The National Capital Mikvah, a ritual cleansing bath affiliated with Kesher Israel that opened in 2005.
Police arrested Freundel on Oct. 14 after a person associated with the mikvah discovered the hidden camera.
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Freundel was initially charged with six counts of voyeurism on accusations of videotaping six women. Then, a search of his home turned up other media storage devices, and prosecutors indicated more women had been taped.
Last week, prosecutors told a closed-door meeting of victims that Freundel had taped more than 150 women, though the statute of limitations would bar them from charging Freundel with many of the tapings. The meeting was closed to the media, but several people who were inside spoke to The Associated Press.
Freundel was fired from the synagogue a little over a month after his arrest.