How Does Rabbi’s Mikvah-peeping Jail Sentence Stack Up?

By Uriel Heilman
May 18, 2015

An artist’s rendering of Rabbi Barry Freundel being sentenced on May 15, 2015, in D.C. Superior Court. (YouTube)

Rabbi Barry Freundel was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for installing hidden cameras in the mikvah shower room adjacent to his synagogue and surreptitiously recording naked women.

The sentence meted out last Friday in D.C. Superior Court represented 45 days each for the 52 counts of misdemeanor voyeurism to which Freundel, the longtime rabbi of the Orthodox Washington congregation Kesher Israel, pleaded guilty in February. The terms will be served successively.

How does the sentence stack up with other prison terms doled out to Jews in America for their high-profile crimes?

Here are some cases for comparison:

Lanner’s mug shot from 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)

Perpetrator: Rabbi Baruch Lanner, principal of an Orthodox yeshiva high school in New Jersey and an official at the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth.

Arrest date: March 2001.

Crimes: Child endangerment, aggravated criminal sexual contact, sexual contact and harassment.

Plea: Not guilty.

Sentence: 7 years in prison. Lanner began serving his sentence in 2005 and was paroled in 2008.

Perpetrator: Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed therapist in Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community.

Arrest date: Feb. 23, 2011.

Crimes: 59 counts of sexual abuse against a teenage girl.

Plea: Not guilty.

Sentence: 103 years in prison.

Perpetrator: Baruch Lebovits, a Brooklyn cantor and businessman.

Arrest date: March 11, 2008.

Crime: Molesting a teenage boy.

Plea: Guilty, in a plea deal that followed the overturning of a conviction at a previous trial on the same charges.

Sentence: 2 years in prison, with credit for 13 months of time served.

William Rapfogel, then the head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, at the social service agency’s annual legislative breakfast, June 2008. (Metropolitan Council)

Perpetrator: William Rapfogel, longtime CEO of New York’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

Arrest date: Sept. 24, 2013.

Crimes: Grand larceny, money laundering, tax fraud and filing false documents to the city campaign finance board.

Plea: Guilty, in exchange for a deal.

Sentence: 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison, plus $3 million in restitution payments.

Perpetrator: Semen Domnitser, director of two German restitution funds at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Arrest date: November 9, 2010.

Crime: Mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Plea: Not guilty.

Sentence: 8 years in prison, plus restitution of $57.3 million, the full amount of the fraud.

Sholom Rubashkin, right, after posting bail in Iowa in 2009. (Guy Cook)

Perpetrator: Sholom Rubashkin, manager of Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meatpacking plant in the United States, located in Postville, Iowa.

Arrest date: Nov. 13, 2008.

Crimes: 86 counts of financial fraud, including bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Plea: Not guilty.

Sentence: 27 years in prison.

* Rubashkin was acquitted in a separate trial on 67 counts of child labor violations. Immigration violation charges that resulted in Rubashkin’s arrest in October 2008 were later dropped by the U.S. government.

Perpetrator: Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, a Brooklyn businessman.

Arrest date: July 2009.

Crime: Three counts of brokering kidney sales and one count of conspiracy to broker an illegal kidney sale.

Plea: Guilty.

Sentence: 2 1/2 years in prison.

Perpetrators: Ilana Friedman, an administrator at United Hebrew Cemetery in Staten Island, New York.

Arrest date: Pleaded guilty in April 2013.

Crime: Felony grand larceny.

Plea: Guilty, under a plea deal.

Sentence: 3 years of probation; also required to pay back $1 million in funds stolen from the cemetery and $100,000 to the state attorney general’s office to cover the cost of the investigation.








Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.