Orthodox Rabbi Barry Freundel, 63, the former spiritual leader of Kesher Israel Congregation in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C., has been sentenced to 6 and a half years in jail for being a peeping tom. Specifically, he had admitted to secretly videotaping women as they entered a mikve — a ritual bath — naked.
The rabbi was formally charged with 52 different misdemeanor counts relating to 18 victims and the judge sentenced him to 45 days for each one.
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But in an unusual move, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Alprin made the sentence consecutive instead of concurrent. At 45 days in prison for each of the counts, the disgraced Rabbi will need to serve a total of 2, 340 days.
This may have been a compromise in the judge’s eyes. The prosecution wanted a 17 year jail term and the defense argued for community service.
In handing down the sentence the judge said this was a, “classic case of abuse of power and violation of trust. The defendant repeatedly and seriously violated the trust and abused his power. The conduct is despicable. There is no justification. The defendant lured victims to the mikvah and secretly recorded them undressed without their knowledge or permission.”
Freundel plans to appeal the sentence. His lawyer, Jeffrey Harris, told the Jewish Week, “I think the sentence is harsh but more importantly is illegal in that consecutive sentences are not permissible based on the law and the facts. Freundel was sentenced to 45 days on each of 52 counts of voyeurism to be served consecutively, which comes to 2, 340 days in prison, or just less than six and a half years.”
“We will we be asking the sentencing judge to correct this illegal sentence. If he does not we will appeal to the DC Court of Appeals, ” he added.