The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has affirmed the 6.5-year sentence of former Kesher Israel rabbi Barry Freundel who had pleaded guilty to 52 counts of misdemeanor voyeurism in 2015 for videotaping naked women who were undergoing the conversion process while he was in charge of the National Capital Mikvah in Washington.
Freundel had been sentenced to 45 days in jail for each individual misdemeanor charge he was convicted of, but his attorney Jeffrey Harris had appealed to have the sentence reduced to one year, arguing that a 6.5-year sentence for misdemeanor convictions was illegal. His first appeal to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia was denied last year, prompting him to appeal the decision. Harris could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.
In an opinion dated Sept. 15, Associate Judge Roy W. McLeese explained that the law “unambiguously permits separate punishment for each of Mr. Freundel’s fifty-two victims in this case.”
“Although Mr. Freundel argues that multiple punishments were unlawful in this case, we do not find Mr. Freundel’s arguments persuasive,” it stated. “First, and most broadly, Mr. Freundel argues that, no matter how many individuals he taped and no matter what other circumstances intervened between the recordings of the victims in this case, only one voyeurism sentence was lawful, because Mr. Freundel acted with a single voyeuristic purpose. It is not clear what Mr. Freundel means by a single voyeuristic purpose or whether Mr. Freundel acted with such a single purpose in this case.”
You can view the entire opinion here.