Four years after Rabbi Barry Freundel was arrested for secretly videotaping Jewish women as they used a ritual bath, his victims have reached a financial settlement with the rabbi\u2019s Washington, D.C., synagogue.\r\nThe terms of the agreement, reached Monday night, state that Freundel\u2019s victims will receive a total settlement of $14.25 million. That entire amount will be paid by Travelers Insurance, which covers the synagogue, Kesher Israel. As part of the agreement, Kesher Israel and its co-defendants do not admit guilt, and deny any wrongdoing.\r\nThe plaintiffs had originally sued Kesher Israel and its co-defendants for $100 million.\r\nBoth sides told JTA they agreed to settle to avoid a lengthy, painful and uncertain legal process that had already dragged on for years. Under the terms of the settlement, each of the women videotaped will receive at least $25,000, and any woman who used the mikvah from July 2005 to October 2014 is eligible to receive at least $2,500.\r\nThe U.S. District Attorney for D.C. identified more than 150 women whom Freundel videotaped.\r\nThe settlement close another chapter in a saga that has roiled Kesher Israel, a large Orthodox congregation in the nation\u2019s capital, and that prompted discussion in the wider Orthodox Jewish community about how Jews by choice and other women are treated. Freundel is in prison, set to be released in 2020, and the settlement states the the synagogue will not be held responsible for any further claims.\r\n\u201cIn a case this disturbing and sensitive, it\u2019s important to make the procedures for class members as straightforward and easy as possible,\u201d said Alexandra Harwin, a lawyer for the victims, referring to women represented by the class action suit. \u201cWe want to make sure class members have the opportunity to participate without aggravating what is obviously an extremely distressing situation.\u201d\r\nFreundel, formerly a leading authority in Orthodox conversion, was arrested in October 2014 for secretly videotaping women as they immersed naked in the mikvah, or ritual bath, associated with the synagogue. In some cases, he would persuade women to perform extra mikvah immersions, under the pretense of practicing for their conversion to Judaism, which requires the mikvah ritual. The bath is also used by observant Jewish women after the conclusion of their monthly menstrual cycles.\r\nSince the arrest, the case\u2019s fallout has continued to occupy the synagogue. The class action suit was filed in December 2014. Freundel was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in May 2015.\u00a0 This past April, the District of Columbia Department of Corrections mistakenly announced that Freundel would be released in August. His sentence has been shortened due to good behavior, and his actual release date is in August 2020.\r\n\u201cIn one way it feels like closure because it\u2019s been out there for so long,\u201d wrote Bethany Mandel, a columnist who has written about her experience as one of Freundel\u2019s victims, in a message to JTA. \u201cBut this case has a way of reopening itself again and again. The last time was the false alarm about his release, the next time will likely be the actual release.\u201d\r\n\u201cNo amount could ever be enough for all our pain and disappointment, for irreparable injury to my bonds of trust and for the psychological damage,\u201d another victim, who did not want to share her name, told JTA in a statement communicated via her attorney. \u201cBut I\u2019m very happy that we have reached a settlement. It offers a kind of closure for me and for all the victims, and a feeling that we received a bit of justice to help end a very long chapter we all wish to forget.\u201d\r\nA victim could receive more than the designated amount if she experienced additional harm in a number of ways. This includes women who were videotaped multiple times or for an extended period of time, or women whose conversion was adversely affected by the videotaping. It also includes women who suffered sickness or physical or emotional distress, or who received treatment or a medical diagnosis due to the abuse. Women whose romantic relationship, Jewish practice or professional or social lives were adversely affected are also eligible for additional payment.\r\n\u201cGoing to trial, this was really an existential threat to the synagogue,\u201d said Elanit Jakabovics, former president of Kesher\u2019s board of directors. \u201cThis could have bankrupted us and closed us down. That threat was always there. That it seems like it\u2019s coming to an end is a relief.\u201d\r\nJakabovics said that because many of Freundel\u2019s victims have remained anonymous, it\u2019s hard for the synagogue to provide help to them. She said the synagogue did reach out to those who have identified themselves, and has offered counseling and resources for those seeking help.\r\nMoving forward, she said, the synagogue does not plan to emphasize combating sexual abuse or place coping with the scandal\u2019s legacy on the front burner. She reiterated that as part of the settlement, the synagogue did not admit guilt.\r\n\u201cWe have to make sure that minyan takes place,\u201d she said, referring to daily prayer services. \u201cWe decide whether to run programs based on what the community wants.\r\n\u201cCombating sexual abuse is always on the forefront of everyone\u2019s mind,\u201d she added. \u201cI don\u2019t know whether I would say that\u2019s a number one priority for a shul, because the number one priority for the shul is minyan.\u201d\r\nThe clas action suit, brought by nine victims,\u00a0claimed the synagogue and the affiliated institutions were negligent in not further investigating reports of inappropriate behavior by Freundel.\r\nThe other defendants are the National Capital Mikvah, as Kesher\u2019s affiliated ritual bath is known; the Beth Din of America, the Orthodox rabbinical court system through whom\u00a0 Freundel conducted conversions; and the Rabbinical Council of America, the umbrella Orthodox rabbis\u2019 association affiliated with the rabbinic courts.\r\nIn August 2017, the synagogue hired a new permanent rabbi, Hyim Shafner.