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April 2, 2020 10:01 am

DC Corrections Department Grants Early Release of Rabbi Convicted of Voyeurism

avatar by Jackson Richman / JNS.org

Rabbi Barry Freundel and his lawyer, Jeffrey Harris, enter D.C. Superior Court in Washington, D.C. Photo: Screenshot.

JNS.org – A Washington, DC, rabbi convicted of voyeurism was released on Wednesday, a DC Department of Corrections official told JNS.

Barry Freundel, the former rabbi of Kesher Israel in Georgetown between 1989 and 2014, was released early from the six-and-a-half year prison sentence he received in 2015 after pleading guilty to 52 counts stemming from secretly videotaping people at his synagogue’s mikvah.

Freundel was granted an early release from a DC jail due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused jails nationwide to release non-violent convicts early, and earning credits for good behavior.

“I am not happy he’s out, but I don’t want him to get sick so I understand why he was released, and he was near the end of his sentence so we knew this was coming soon anyway,” one of Freundel’s victims told JNS. “Many people are still deeply hurt by what he did. The best thing he can do is move far away and not be seen or heard from again.”

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The victim spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the matter’s sensitivity.

Freundel will not be required to register as a sex offender, as voyeurism is not one of the offenses listed under the DC Sex Offender Registration law, or be under post-release supervision. It is unknown where Freundel will live or work.

However, “We do know that Freundel will not be welcome at Kesher when we reopen and resume,” said the Orthodox synagogue in a statement on Wednesday evening. The synagogue closed earlier this month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bethany Mandel, who converted under Freundel to Judaism, told The Washington Post, “I hope that if he truly is sorry and wants to make amends for the pain he has caused, as he has claimed, he will consider the feelings of those who live in the communities in which he may decide to reside in.”

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