Prosecutors investigating the case of the Orthodox rabbi charged with secretly videotaping nude women as they prepared for a ritual bath asked a D.C. Superior Court judge Friday for additional time as they continue to review and gather evidence in the case.
At a hearing Friday before Judge Franklin Burgess Jr., prosecutors asked to set a new hearing date of Feb. 19 in the case of Barry Freundel. Freundel was arrested and charged in October with misdemeanor voyeurism involving six women. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to six years in prison if convicted.
The judge granted the delay. It’s not the first time prosecutors have asked for additional time in the case. At a previous hearing in November, prosecutors requested an extension as they looked for any additional victims.
For 25 years, Freundel, 63, served as the rabbi at Kesher Israel in Georgetown, where prosecutors say the videotaping occurred. Last month, the synagogue’s board fired Freundel as of Jan. 1.
Prosecutors say Freundel hid a recording device in a digital clock radio in a changing area of Kesher Israel’s National Capital Mikvah, where women would prepare for the baths. A mikvah is used most frequently by people converting to Judaism and by observant Jewish women seven days after the end of their menstrual cycles as a way of coming closer to God.
Freundel and his attorney Jeffrey Harris were present at the hearing and agreed on the new date. Also in the courtroom were about 15 people who sat quietly during the proceeding, then pulled out signs outside the courtroom that read “#noplea deal” and “#safemikvah.”
Carly Pildis, 29, one of the organizers of the demonstrators, said a friend of hers was among Freundel’s alleged victims. “The mikvah is a safe and sacred place that is important to protect,” she said. “We do not want to see a plea deal or a slap on the wrist.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the new hearing date. It has been corrected.