Rabbi charged with voyeurism hid camera in bathhouse, police say

Rabbi who teaches at Towson U. hid camera in fake clock in showers at ritual bathhouse in Georgetown.

A prominent Jewish rabbi and Towson University professor arrested Tuesday on voyeurism charges in D.C. hid a camera in a clock-radio to record as many as six women changing and showering at a ritual bathhouse, according to charging documents released Wednesday.

Police found the camera when a woman reported seeing Barry Freundel, 62, then the rabbi of the Kesher Israel Congregation in Georgetown, plugging in the fake clock and pointing it toward the showers in the Mikvah bathhouse attached to the synagogue, the documents said.

A review of the footage by investigators showed Freundel correcting the time on the clock while adjusting its position and showed six women undressing and then entering and exiting the showers, police said. Police found several similar secret recording devices and a manual for the clock-radio camera in the rabbi's bedroom during a search of his home, according to the charging documents, the details of which were first reported by The Washington Post.

Freundel has a PhD from Baltimore Hebrew University, part of Towson University, and he is an associate professor in the university's philosophy and religious studies department. He has also taught at the University of Maryland and the Georgetown University School of Law and led seminars on government ethics at the National Institute of Health.

Towson University suspended Freundel "from any and all faculty duties and responsibilities, pending the outcome of that investigation and associated criminal proceedings." The board of directors at Kesher Israel, the Georgetown synagoge, announced on its website that it has suspended Freundel without pay.

He faces six counts for voyeurism, and each is punishable by up to a year in jail, prosecutors said. After pleading not guilty in a court appearance in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Freundel was released with an order barring him from the premises.

His next hearing will be held Nov. 12 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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