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Sex Offender Robert Liguori Pleads Guilty to Secretly Recording Swimsuit Models

Mastic Beach man placed a video camera in a changing area during fashion show in Southampton Village.

A registered sex offender pleaded guilty Friday to eight felony counts of unlawful surveillance for putting a video camera in the swimsuit models' changing area during a fashion show in Southampton Village in July 2012.

He is due back in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside on May 8, when he is expected to be sentenced to between one and a half and three years in a state penitentiary, according to his attorney, Christopher Gioe, of Central Islip law firm Piana and Gioe.

Gioe said his client, Robert Liguori, of Mastic Beach, acknowledges responsibility and wants to get counseling and emerge from prison as a productive member of society.

Liguori is a level-two sex offender, and will likely be upgraded to a level-three sex offender when he is sentenced, Gioe added.

Liguori's guilty plea is not part of a deal, Gioe said — the charges against him are not being reduced in exchange for his plea. He said Liguori is just eager to move on.

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According to authorities, Liguori, who was 51 at the time of his arrest, identified himself as an artist/photographer at the July 12, 2012, fashion show, and at some point during the event he slipped into the changing area to hide a digital video camera. However, authorities said, an intern for the fashion designer discovered the camera, and the designer turned the video over to police.

The designer, Lu Berry, said that Liguori could clearing be seen in the video, maneuvering the camera. "He just made it way too easy."

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Police said four women, between the ages of 20 and 31, were recorded disrobing, and other women, who were dressed, were taped as well.

Southampton Village police arrested Liguori at his home Sept. 18, 2012, and executed a search warrant, seizing videos and photographs. Gioe said nothing that was found during the search led to further criminal charges.

For the fashion show incident, police charged Liguori with four counts of unlawful surveillance in the second degree, a felony, and three misdemeanor counts of attempted surveillance in the second degree. However, the charges were upgraded twice. Liguori was initially indicted on five felony counts of unlawful surveillance, but then a grand jury offered up a new eight-count indictment, which superseded the previous one.

Liguori still faces a charge of misdemeanor stalking, in an unrelated incident. Gioe said Liguori maintains his innocence on that charge, and is represented by the Legal Aid Society.

The stalking charge arose when Liguori was arrested Sept. 7 for an incident in Center Moriches, in which Suffolk police said he exposed himself to a woman working at a clothing store. According to the arrest report, he returned to the store two more times that day, "placing the victim in fear of the commission of a sex offense against her ..."

The district attorney's office said Liguori became a registered sex offender after he was arrested in 1998 and convicted in 2000 of trafficking in child pornography, transmitting child pornography and transporting child pornography interstate. He was discharged from federal probation in 2007, according to the DA's office.

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