U.S. Rabbi Charged With Voyeurism Declines Synagogue's Request to Leave Residence

Barry Freundel was arrested in October and fired in November. After he refused to leave, the shul opened a case a rabbinical court.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, the Washington rabbi who in October was arrested for voyeurism, has defied his former synagogue's request to leave his residence at the shul, media reports say.

The Washington Jewish Week reported that Freundel, 62, informed Kesher Israel Congregation of Georgetown in December that he would not leave.

In response, the paper said, the shul opened a case with the Beit Din of America, a rabbinical court, in New York.

The Forward reported that the rabbi's contract required that such a court decide disputes between the two sides.

The synagogue is also asking for monetary compensation for Freundel's remaining in the residence after January 1 and for the costs of the Beit Din case, the Forward reported.

Kesher Israel fired the rabbi in November and gave him until January 1 to move out of the residence. Religion News Service reported that his wife, Sharon, moved out some weeks ago.

Freundel was charged with secretly viewing women who were in the synagogue's ritual bath. He has pleaded not guilty. He was spiritual leader at the shul for 25 years.

At least two civil lawsuits have been filed against Kesher Israel regarding the rabbi's conduct, the Forward reported.