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Prominent rabbi and former Towson professor who spied on women taking ritual baths released

Rabbi Barry Freundel leaves the D.C. Superior Court House in Washington after pleading guilty to videotaping women at a Jewish ritual bath.
Rabbi Barry Freundel leaves the D.C. Superior Court House in Washington after pleading guilty to videotaping women at a Jewish ritual bath.(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

A once-prominent Orthodox rabbi who secretly videotaped nude women at a Jewish ritual bath in Washington was released early from prison amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bernard Freundel got released Wednesday, 551 days earlier than his original sentence, news outlets reported.

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His sentence was reduced mostly by repeatedly taking a job training course, and an extra two weeks because of coronavirus concerns.

Freundel, 68, was originally sentenced to over six years in prison in 2015 after one of his recording devices was discovered at the National Capital Mikvah in Washington.

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Prosecutors found that he had filmed some 150 women at the Jewish ritual bath using recording devices hidden in a clock radio, a fan and a tissue box holder.

Fruendel's actions led to a crisis of faith and PTSD among his victims, Bethany Mandel, one of Fruendel's victims, told WRC-TV after his release.

Women who were secretly videotaped by the former rabbi were awarded over $14 million in a class-action lawsuit settlement against organizations affiliated with Fruendel in 2018.

Fruendel will not be legally required to register as a sex offender.

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