Magician sent to prison for videotaping women, girls
Tall and blond with striking features, T.R. looked like the aspiring model she said she once was when she strode to a podium Tuesday in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead.
But as she faced Robert Infantino, the photographer and magician who secretly videotaped her at age 17 in his Central Islip home as she changed clothes for a photo shoot there, T.R. said she no longer dreams of a modeling career.
Her encounter with Infantino about two years ago left her too disillusioned, said the young woman, who was identified in court only by her initials.
"This man has absolutely destroyed my [aspirations for] modeling and everything about it," she said, "and I will never be the same again."
Infantino, 52, of Levittown, was sentenced by County Court Judge Barbara Kahn to 5 to 15 years in prison for surreptitiously videotaping 19 women and girls - some as young as 10 - in the basement of his home.
He showed no emotion Tuesday as T.R. and two other women described their devastation from his actions.
T.R.'s mother, identified in court as L.P., said Infantino had assured her that he would be in another part of the house while T.R. changed her clothes.
"In reality, he's videotaping my daughter," L.P. said. "This individual drew my daughter into his web of deceit, and I did not protect my daughter and I have to live with that."
The mother and daughter left court by a private exit after Infantino's sentencing.
Infantino, who also admitted to having sexually explicit images of children on his home computer, pleaded guilty in May to 108 counts of unlawful surveillance and possession of child pornography.
His attorney, Daniel Russo of Mineola, called the sentence "harsh" but said Infantino was "extremely remorseful."
Assistant District Attorney John Cortes said Infantino lured his victims directly through online messages with parties and promises of free photo shoots to launch their modeling careers. He had a videotaping system hidden in the changing room and a guest bedroom, Cortes said.
"What looked to be a good, clean business turned out to be an illusion," Cortes said.
Judy Cannon of Medford, who also spoke in court Tuesday, said she used to bring friends to Infantino's home for barbecues. There, they swam in his pool and played card games, she said.
Cannon, who said she was a friend of Infantino for 20 years, said she later learned the young daughter of one of her friends was secretly videotaped by Infantino during a visit to his house.
"We didn't know there were hidden cameras," she said.