Authorities investigating a Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly recording women in a ritual bath in Northwest Washington have set up a hotline number for people who think they might have been victimized.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, in her first public comments on the arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, said Tuesday that the investigation is expected to take a long time as forensic experts comb through computer storage devices seized in the case.
“It’s really a tragic case and it is going to take some time for all the details to unfold,” Lanier told Bruce DePuyt on her monthly appearance on NewsChannel 8. “I think this case will be rolling out for some time.” She added, “For people who are potential victims, that is agonizing.”
The number at the U.S. attorney’s office is 202-252-7585. There is also an e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and a web site with updated information: www.justice.gov/usao/dc/programs/vw/bernard_freundel.html.
Lanier said it is important that potential victims “who are part of this larger family can follow what is going on.”
Freundel, 62, was charged two weeks ago with six counts of voyeurism after police said they found images of six congregants from Kesher Israel synagogue that had been taken in the shower of the ritual bath and showed them in various stages of undress. Police said the camera was hidden in a clock radio.
Freundel has been released from custody and is next due in D.C. Superior Court on Nov. 12. D.C. police have found numerous other computer storage devices and cameras hidden in a fan, another clock and a tissue box during searches of his home, the synagogue and his office at Towson University, where he has taught since 2009.
Police have not said whether they have uncovered additional images. Attention has turned to the university, north of Baltimore, after students revealed that Freundel had taken some of them on field trips to the Washington synagogue and invited them to take practice dunks in the bath, known as a mikvah.
The university is reaching out to Freundel’s current and former students, and police documents filed in court last week say that several students have told authorities that they went to the bath. It is not known if any were recorded. Police also found several miniature cameras in a bag in Freundel’s school office. He has been suspended from the university, as well as by the synagogue.
The university’s attorney declined to comment on the case on Tuesday.