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Police search Towson U office of rabbi

Police searching the Towson University office of a prominent Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly recording women in a ritual bath found a backpack with an assortment of tiny cameras hidden in everyday household objects, including a computer charger, a clock and a tissue box, according to a warrant filed in a Maryland court.

Authorities said they also seized an empty box for a "micro camera" hidden in a key chain along with flash drives and memory cards — some in freezer bags — capable of holding more than 200,000 images and 25,000 hours of video. In addition, police found a picture of nude women and handwritten lists of names.

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The items listed in the search warrant obtained by The Washington Post indicate that devices that could be used to spy were kept on the Baltimore County campus where Rabbi Barry Freundel taught as well as in his home and at the bath adjacent to Kesher Israel, the Northwest Washington synagogue he led. Police said that Freundel used a camera hidden in a clock radio to record at least six women in the bath, called a mikvah.

The latest discoveries raised further questions about the rabbi's interactions with his students at Towson, a public university with more than 22,000 students. The rabbi, 62, has been a tenured associate professor there since 2009.

The document filed in Baltimore County District Court says that "several young female students" toured Kesher Israel with Freundel, with "some even participating in the bathing ritual." The affidavit for the warrant alleges that there is "evidence of the crime of voyeurism" in Freundel's office, Room 3139 in the College of Liberal Arts building.

Gay Pinder, Towson's director of media relations, said Friday that there was "no information at this point that anything seized in [Freundel's] office involved our students." She added, "We will have to await what is revealed by the continuing D.C. Metro Police investigation."

Pinder said the school has been "concerned about this whole incident from the beginning. Of course we would be concerned if indeed any of our students were victims of this voyeuristic incident."

The spokeswoman said school officials have not been briefed on whether the list of names or the photo of the nude women are connected to Towson. Law enforcement officials declined to comment on evidence uncovered thus far.

The rabbi is scheduled for a status hearing Nov. 12 in D.C. Superior Court. He has been charged with six misdemeanor counts of voyeurism.

Freundel's attorney, Jeffrey Harris, declined to comment on the allegations but had plenty to say about the disheveled state of Freundel's office after the search by D.C. police Detective George Desilva and Towson University Police Sgt. James Moynihan.

"No one is minimizing the allegations, but the police do not get to exact their own punishment in this process," Harris said. "That's not the way it works."

When asked the status of his client, he responded: "He's not doing great."

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