Rabbi who spied on women taking ritual baths released from prison early
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Rabbi who spied on women taking ritual baths released from prison early

Bernard Freundel, sentenced to 6 years in 2015 for secretly filming some 150 women, let out amid virus fears, will not be required to register as a sex offender

Rabbi Bernard Freundel leaves the DC Superior Court House in Washington, February 19, 2015. (AP/Cliff Owen, File)
Rabbi Bernard Freundel leaves the DC Superior Court House in Washington, February 19, 2015. (AP/Cliff Owen, File)

WASHINGTON — 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 was released Wednesday, 551 days earlier than his original sentence.

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.

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.

Freundel’s actions led to a crisis of faith and PTSD among his victims, Bethany Mandel, one of Freundel’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 Freundel in 2018.

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

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