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Philly Jeweler guilty of making bathroom videos

Bet his family’s proud.

Philadelphia- A Center City jeweler was sentenced to eight years of probation yesterday after pleading no contest to charges that he secretly videotaped six women using bathrooms at his home and store.

Benjamin Sorkin, 52, owner of Ben Sorkin Jewelers at 705 Sansom St., issued the plea in an agreement with prosecutors that also calls for a $10,000 fine and 200 hours of community service.

Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien told Judge Francis P. Cosgrove in Common Pleas Court that testimony would indicate that Sorkin used hidden video equipment in his store to record three of his female employees using the bathroom and that hidden equipment was also used to videotape three women at his home in Northeast Philadelphia.

O’Brien said the female store employees would have testified that one of them noticed that whenever they entered the store bathroom, Sorkin would push a button and look toward the floor. They then found found a camera hidden in the floor.

O’Brien said the women also found videotapes of themselves using the toilet.

Three female guests of Sorkin’s family were videotaped using the toilet at his home, O’Brien said. She said that those women were from out of state and that two of them thought they might have been younger than 18 when the videotapes were made. Sorkin and his wife live in the Northeast; the couple has three daughters.

Sorkin stood silently as the terms of the plea agreement were outlined for the judge. Several of Sorkin’s relatives attended the hearing.

Sorkin received one year of probation for each count of invasion of privacy and two years of probation for each count of possession of an instrument of crime, O’Brien said.

After the hearing, Louis Priluker, Sorkin’s lawyer, declined to comment on the case.

Asked whether the sentence was too lenient, O’Brien said, “We are happy with the arrangement that we worked out. It’s within the sentencing guidelines. . . . It will keep him under supervision for the next eight years.”

O’Brien said the agreement spared the women the trauma of testifying and “the trauma of having to have those videos played in public.”

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