TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — A rabbi accused of hiding secret cameras inside a ritual bath now faces a major lawsuit that attorneys say could involve thousands of victims. Rabbi Barry Freundel taught at both Georgetown and Towson universities and lawyers say he may have used that power position to lure in victims.
Meghan McCorkell has the disturbing details.
According to that civil lawsuit filed in DC Superior Court, Rabbi Freundel may have been secretly videotaping victims for years.
Investigators say Freundel used a clock radio with a hidden camera to secretly record women using a ritual bath known as a mikvah.
“He treated that mikvah like a car wash. Every Sunday, six students at a time,” said Lisette Garcia, who worked at Kesher Israel.
Now, a Georgetown law student has filed a lawsuit claiming Freundel required her to use the mikvah as part of a paper she was writing.
“He specifically directed her where to change her clothes in the changing room, where to shower,” said Anne McKenna, the victim’s attorney.
The lawsuit asks for class action status. McKenna says the victims could number into the thousands.
The suit alleges Georgetown University, the National Capital Mikvah and Kesher Israel congregation ignored red flags about Freundel.
“We know that there were in fact formal complaints made by women against Rabbi Freundel and that Kesher was aware of these complaints,” McKenna said.
On Monday, Kesher Israel fired the rabbi, saying in part, “Our collective heart breaks for the consequences, both seen and unseen, of these alleged acts to all the potential victims and our entire community.”
Freundel is also an associate professor at Towson University, where he ran class trips to the DC synagogue. He has been suspended from all activities on the Towson campus since his arrest in October.
A search of the rabbi’s Towson office turned up a backpack full of hidden cameras and a picture of a naked woman.
Towson officials say they don’t believe any illegal activity occurred on the campus. They have notified Freundel’s students about the charges against him,
Freundel has pleaded not guilty to six counts of voyeurism. He will be back in court next month.
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