Rabbinical Council of America Added as Defendant in Freundel-related Lawsuit

Lawsuit originally listed D.C. synagogue of 'peeping rabbi,' the adjacent mikvah and Georgetown University's law school for allowing the alleged misdeeds to go unchecked.

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Rabbi Barry Freundel.
Rabbi Barry Freundel.Credit: Screenshot
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A lawsuit arising out of allegations of voyeurism at a Washington D.C. ritual bath added the Rabbinical Council of America as a defendant.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by a third-year student at Georgetown University’s law school, initially named as defendants Rabbi Barry Freundel’s Washington synagogue, Kesher Israel, the adjacent mikvah and her own law school for allowing Freundel’s alleged misdeeds to go unchecked.

At a press conference on Thursday, the law firm representing her — Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White — added the RCA as a defendant and added two additional plaintiffs in a class action, WJLA, the local ABC affiliate, reported.

Calls to the law firm were unanswered, and Rabbi Mark Dratch, the RCA’s executive vice president, said the organization had not yet been officially notified of the suit.

RCA suspended Freundel in October and instituted reforms to prevent similar abuses.

The student in the original lawsuit took a class taught by Freundel and immersed at the mikvah while researching her paper.

She named Georgetown for failing to adequately check into Freundel’s background when hiring him.

“This case involves an unfathomable breach of trust by a Georgetown professor and religious leader and defendants’ utter failure to prevent and/or stop it,” the original lawsuit stated.

One of the new plaintiffs is Emma Shulevitz, who approached Freundel in order to convert and who has written about her experiences with Freundel and the ostracism she has suffered since speaking out.

The ABC report did not name the other defendant, but suggested the lawsuit could expand to include students of Freundel at another university, Towson, in Maryland.

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