WASHINGTON (AP) — Two more women have come forward to say they were sexually exploited by a rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women in a Jewish ritual bath.
The women added their names Thursday to a lawsuit that was originally filed in early December on behalf of a Georgetown University law student.
The women say they were exploited by rabbi Barry Freundel, who was arrested in October and is charged with voyeurism. He is accused of placing a hidden camera in the shower area of a Jewish ritual bath in Washington, The National Capital Mikvah.
One of the women who added her name to the lawsuit Thursday, Emma Shulevitz, called the rabbi “sick” during a press conference.
“I feel betrayed. I feel duped. I feel taken advantage of,” Shulevitz said.
The other woman who joined the lawsuit is a student at Towson University who took a class Freundel taught at the school. Though the woman is not Jewish and had no interest in converting to Judaism, the lawsuit said Freundel repeatedly invited her and other female students on “field trips” to the mikvah to participate in the ritual cleansing. The woman participated in the ritual in 2014, the lawsuit said.
Freundel also taught at Georgetown’s law school, and the Georgetown student who initiated the lawsuit was in a class he co-taught. The woman wrote a paper about the mikvah at Freundel’s suggestion and immersed herself twice at the mikvah, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said Georgetown, the synagogue where Freundel was a rabbi and the mikvah ignored “bright red flags” he was acting improperly. The lawsuit also now includes the Rabbinical Council of America, in which Freundel had a leadership role.
The lawsuit was filed in D.C. Superior Court and seeks class action status.
A Georgetown University spokeswoman repeated a statement the school made when the lawsuit was filed, that the school is “cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities” and conducting its own investigation. Phone and email attempts to reach the other organizations named in the lawsuit were unsuccessful Thursday evening.
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