Posted October 24th, 2018.
BY JARED FORETEK
A judge granted final approval Monday to the $14.25 million settlement reached by Kesher Israel Congregation and Rabbi Barry Freundel’s voyeurism victims.
According to the settlement, approved by District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman, any woman who disrobed at the National Capital Mikvah (the ritual bath where Freundel installed a secret camera to record women) between July 1, 2005 and Oct. 14, 2014 is eligible for a $2,500 payment if she suffered emotional distress after learning of the videotaping. National Capital Mikvah is also a defendant in the case.
In addition, the more than 150 women identified by the U.S. Attorney’s office as having been videotaped by Freundel can receive a base payment of $25,000. And the victims who pursued litigation on behalf of the entire class are eligible for additional compensation.
Beth Din of America (the Orthodox rabbinical court system through which Freundel conducted conversions) and the Rabbinical Council of America (the Orthodox rabbis association affiliated with the rabbinic courts) were also defendants. The $14.25 million will be paid out by an insurance fund, and victims can find more information about compensation at mikvahsettlement.com.
To be eligible for payments, plaintiffs must submit the appropriate forms by Nov. 13, 2018. Base payments will then be must be issued by Nov. 26, as ordered by the court. Supplemental payments will then be evaluated by a court-appointed “independent claims expert.”
The law firms who brought litigation, including Sanford Heisler Sharp, will receive about one-third of the $14.25 million, or roughly $4.75 million in attorney’s fees, as well as roughly $300,000 for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the firms, according to Harwin.