Our network

Georgetown rabbi arrested for camera in women's showers | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Georgetown rabbi arrested for camera in women's showers

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A prominent Georgetown rabbi was arrested Tuesday for voyeurism, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Dr. Barry Freundel, 62, is accused of setting up a camera in the women's showers at Kesher Israel, an Orthodox synagogue in Georgetown, according to police.

A 35-year-old women reported the incident. According to police reports, when the woman confronted Dr. Freundel, he told her he was fixing the shower ventilation system.

Tuesday night prayer service at Kesher Israel Congregation was a struggle for some in light of the news that their spiritiual leader was facing the voyeurism charges.

"It's very disturbing obviously. I don't know all the particulars but to hear that from a rabbi that people trust is very disturbing and concerning," said Michael Uhr, who was attending services at the Georgetown synagogue Tuesday.

Freundel has been the rabbi of Kesher Israel since 1989, according to the Kesher Israel website. He has also served as a instructor at the University of Maryland and a professor at Georgetown Law.

"My first reaction was that I'm glad the synagogue chose to engage law enforcement. I think that's a very important first step," said Aaron Tessler, who has been a member of the congregation for two months. "I have full faith in the legal system and I hope it works out but if he's found to have committed inappropriate actions then actions should be taken by the synagogue," he continued.

Kesher Israel has already suspended Freundel without pay.

The Board of Directors released the following statement Tuesday evening:

This is a painful moment for Kesher Israel Congregation and the entire Jewish community. At this challenging time, we draw strength from our faith, our tradition, and our fellow congregants.

Upon receiving information regarding potentially inappropriate activity, the Board of Directors quickly alerted the appropriate officials. Throughout the investigation, we cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so.

After today's arrest of Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, the Board of Directors suspended him without pay. As always, Kesher Israel will remain open as a place of learning, prayer, and community, including throughout the remainder of the Sukkot holiday.

This is a very difficult time for all of us. We respectfully request that our community be granted privacy. Any further questions should be directed to the U.S. Attorney's office.

"I think it's important for the Jewish community to stick together, I think it's important for the Kesher community to stick together and it's important to remember that we stand for something that's more important than one man, one leader and one rabbi," said Tessler.