Friday, December 05, 2014

Georgetown Law Student Sues Rabbi Accused of Mikvah Voyeurism

As previously reported, in October Rabbi Barry Freundel, head of Washington, D.C.'s Kesher Israel synagogue, was arrested for electronic voyeurism. Freundel was charged with using hidden cameras at the synagogue's mikvah (ritual bath) so he could view women disrobing there. Freundel was also an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School where he co-taught a seminar.  The Washington Post and The Forward report that last Tuesday a female Georgetown Law student filed a class action against Kesher Israel, the National Capital Mikvah and Georgetown Law School, alleging that:
Defendants turned a blind eye to obvious signs of Freundel’s increasingly bizarre behavior, ignoring the bright red flags that Freundel was acting inappropriately with women subjected to his authority.
The Jewish student says that she used the Mikvah twice as part of her research for a paper titled "The Mikvah: Expanding the Ritual for Jewish Women," and each time Freundel accompanied her to the changing room and then left.

UPDATE: The Forward (Dec. 24) reports that two additional suits, also seeking class action status, were filed against Kesher Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America on Dec. 2 and Dec. 18 respectively.  The suits claim that defendants should have acted sooner to remove Freundel from his positions of authority.