Fifty-two victims of prominent Georgetown-area Rabbi, Rabbi Bernard “Barry” Freundel, have reached a settlement totaling more than $14 million after a three year court battle.
Freundel, who was the leader of the Kesher Israel Georgetown Synagogue on N Street, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in May 2015 after being charged with placing secret cameras in the women’s changing area of the synagogue’s mikvah, a ceremonial bathing area.
The victims, many of whom were young students under Freundel, were undergoing conversion to the Jewish faith which culminated in bathing in the mikvah. Court documents report that Freundel placed a hidden camera disguised as a digital alarm clock on the sink in the changing area facing where his victims undressed before going into the mikvah.
When he was arrested, police recovered twelve computers, six external hard drives, twenty memory cards, and eleven flash drives from his property. Police state that he had been secretly recording women for more than four years before getting caught.
Freundel was well known nationally and was considered an authority on Jewish law. He taught classes at Towson University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
According to news releases from Kesher Israel, the victims had initially sought $100 million from four different organizations, including the Kesher Israel Synagogue, and the suit originally included more than 150 women who were confirmed to have been secretly videotaped. However, due to the statute of limitations in this case, only fifty-two were given a monetary settlement.
The settlement will go before a hearing on September 7th in front of a D.C. Superior Court judge to decide if the settlement is fair to the victims.