Freundel sentencing set for Friday


In anticipation of a sentencing hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court, federal prosecutors are seeking a lengthy sentence for Rabbi Barry Freundel, who pleaded guilty Feb. 19 to 52 counts of misdemeanor voyeurism, asking for a sentence of 208 months – 17 years and four months – in prison.
Freundel’s attorney has recommended that the former rabbi of Congregation Kesher Israel avoid incarceration altogether, and instead receive a sentence of community service.
Prosecutors believe Freundel should be sentenced to four months in prison on each of the 52 counts for which he was convicted of surreptitiously photographing women undressing as they prepared for the mikvah, a ritual bath.
In its 25-page memorandum, the government pointed out that Freundel was quoted in an article about the Orthodox movement in Washington Jewish Week “literally two days before recording his last victims.” In that article, Freundel said that “the lack of sexual morality that pervades this society is all over the place, and the Orthodox community, no matter how traditional, is not immune from this, and it creates terrible problems.”
In his sentencing memo on behalf of his client, Jeffrey Harris, a managing partner in the Washington law firm of Rubin, Winston, Harris & Cooke, wrote that “by succumbing to a human failing, he has largely wiped away a lifetime of good deeds” and that Freundel already has been punished by losing his job, home and respect.
Senior Judge Geoffrey Alprin, who accepted Freundel’s plea, is expected to hand down the sentence.
“Judge Alprin has been on the bench for more than 30 years and is widely considered to be a smart, fair, and compassionate judge.  Although I obviously have no idea what he will ultimately decide, I find it hard to imagine that, on these facts, Rabbi Freundel will be able to avoid a substantial prison sentence,” said Justin Dillon, a criminal defense attorney with Kaiser, LeGrand & Dillon and a former federal prosecutor in Washington.
Each count of voyeurism carries a potential maximum penalty of one year of incarceration and a fine of up to $2,500.
For the results of Friday’s hearing, visit n
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@Suzanne Pollak

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