WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Six and a half years. That’s how long a D.C. rabbi will spend behind bars after admitting he secretly videotaped naked women in a Jewish ritual bath.
Rabbi Barry Freundel used his position as a professor at both Towson and Georgetown universities to lure in victims. Some of those victims faced him in court.
Meghan McCorkell was inside the courtroom.
Rabbi Barry Freundel will spend 78 months behind bars–45 days for each of the 52 voyeurism counts against him.
“We believe the sentence shows that the court took this very, very seriously,” said Kelly Higashi, prosecutor. “And we hope that, with this sentence, that the victims feel justice was achieved in this case.”
The rabbi admits he secretly videotaped dozens of women inside a ritual bath known as a mikvah.
In court, the rabbi told his victims:
Some weren’t buying it.
“He was really calculating for a really long time. And I really do believe he was a sociopath and is a sociopath,” one victim said.
One by one, 14 of Freundel’s victims confronted the rabbi in court–one turning to him and asking: “How could you do this to me?”
“I was wrecked emotionally, psychologically, sexually. I can’t trust anyone in my community anymore. I’ve been shunned by my community. This hypocrisy has wrecked me,” said victim Emma Shulevitz.
Several people stood up and spoke for the rabbi as well, asking the judge to show mercy.
“For 35 years I’ve known the man. He’s done 35 years worth of good things in all sorts of different places,” said Rabbi Matt Hoffman, who supports Freundel.
But the judge said Freundel’s “despicable conduct” deserved significant jail time. Freundel had hoped for community service.
“He was shocked. He didn’t think the judge was going to hit a long ball like that. So he’s shocked,” said Jeffrey Harris, defense attorney.
Prosecutors wanted the rabbi to serve 17 years behind bars. Instead, he’ll spend nearly six and a half years in prison.
Rabbi Freundel’s attorneys are vowing to appeal the sentence.
Many victims have also filed a civil suit against the mikvah, the Rabbinical Council and Georgetown University.