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Prosecutors say rabbi secretly videotaped more than 150 women

A rabbi and former associate professor at Towson University is believed to have secretly videotaped more than 150 women at a Jewish ritual bath in Washington, prosecutors told alleged victims at a meeting this week.

The meeting, held Wednesday at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, offered the first specifics on the scope of the alleged recording by Rabbi Barry Freundel.

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Prosecutors charged Freundel with voyeurism late last year based on recordings of six women, but indicated more had been filmed. They told victims, their spouses and lawyers representing them Wednesday that an investigation had determined Freundel had filmed 152 women.

An attorney who said his firm is representing some of the alleged victims said several were Towson University students.

Attorney Steven Kelly, of Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White LLC, did not attend the Washington meeting. But based on information from clients and his firm's own investigation, he said, Freundel allegedly took students from various courses, not just religious studies courses, to the mikvah, or ritual bath house. He said some students were offered extra credit to participate.

Kelly said his firm has identified at least a half dozen Towson students who were videotaped.

Freundel's attorney, Jeffrey Harris, did not return a call Thursday requesting comment.

Fruendel also taught at the Georgetown University Law Center. In December, a Georgetown law student and a woman who went to Freundel to convert filed a class-action lawsuit against the law school, the Orthodox synagogue Kesher Israel, the National Capital Mikvah, where the filming allegedly took place, and the Rabbinical Council of America, of which Freundel is a leader. A Towson student later added her name to the suit.

A spokeswoman for Towson said the university has not been told how many students might have been videotaped.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington said that that information hasn't been released.

The meeting was closed to the press, but three people who attended described the discussion to The Associated Press. Two spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the closed-door meeting. The third person is not being identified because The Associated Press does not identify victims of sex crimes.

Prosecutors discussed with victims the benefits of a plea deal in the case.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement the meeting was intended "to establish a dialogue with potential victims and to provide a forum in order for us to learn about how this matter has affected them and what is most important as we move forward in this matter."

Freundel, 63, has been suspended from Towson University, where he had taught religious studies and philosophy. He had taught at Towson since 2009.

The next hearing in the case is Feb. 19.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this story.

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