A registered sex offender convicted of secretly videotaping models while they were changing clothes at a swimsuit fashion show in Southampton Village last summer was sentenced to from 18 months to three years in prison in a Riverhead courtroom on Wednesday morning, May 1, according to his attorney, Christopher M. Gioe of Piana and Gioe LLC in Central Islip.
In March, Robert Liguori, 52, of Mastic Beach, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Criminal Court to eight counts of unlawful surveillance in the second degree, each a Class E felony, one count for each of the women he recorded changing during the “Off The Record” event, a Hamptons Wine & Dine Event at 230 Elm in July 2012.
Mr. Liguori, who had been hired as a freelance photographer to record the fashion show, was accused of hiding a video camera in the models’ makeshift curtained dressing room. Once the camera was found by an intern working at the event, fashion designer Lu Berry removed its memory card and reported the recording to the Southampton Village Police Department.
According to Ms. Berry, Mr. Liguori was hired to film the fashion show by one of the models who had known and worked with him for four years but did not know that he was a registered sex offender, she said.
Mr. Liguori was arrested by Southampton Village Police on September 18, 2012, at his home.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement that Mr. Liguori has a record of re-offending and he is a threat to public safety. “We were fortunate the sponsor of the event seized the camera and turned the recording over to police, and the footage did not end up on the internet,” he said.
Mr. Liguori will serve his time in an upstate facility. Whether his sex offender level will be increased will be decided at a later date, most likely in three years, according to Mr. Gioe.
“He acknowledges his wrongdoing and complicity in this matter, and he’s going to try to do what’s right of him while in custody,” Mr. Gioe said, adding that Mr. Liguori wants to be better acclimated to society so he doesn’t make any more poor choices. “He is remorseful and has apologized.”
In 1998, Mr. Liguori was arrested by the U.S. Customs Service and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with trafficking in child pornography, transmitting child pornography, and transporting child pornography interstate. He served 55 months in a federal prison. He was discharged from probation in April 2007. He is registered as a Level 2 sex offender, which means the courts determined there is a moderate chance he would re-offend.
According to Suffolk County Police, Mr. Liguori also was arrested on September 7 and charged with stalking in the third degree, a misdemeanor, for an incident unrelated to the unlawful surveillance charges. Mr. Gioe said his client still maintains his innocence on the charge and will be represented by the Legal Aid Society.
According to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, Mr. Liguori had put on a dress at a Center Moriches women’s clothing store and lifted it up, exposing himself to a young female. The stalking charge was a result of Mr. Liguori returning to the store twice the next day.