NORRISTOWN — A Springfield man who authorities say secretly photographed and videotaped a teenage girl in her swimsuit, allegedly focusing on her buttocks for sexual pleasure, faces probation and sex offender counseling after he admitted guilty of harassment.
Stephen Stainbrook, 50, of the block of Whitemarsh Avenue in the Erdenheim neighborhood, was sentenced to one year of probation in Montgomery County after pleading guilty to one count of harassment in connection with incidents that occurred in the summer of 2021.
Stainbrook was initially charged by county detectives with invasion of privacy, but prosecutors changed the charge to harassment.
“He admitted that he took photos and videos of the victim while she was in a swimsuit. He enlarged her buttocks and then proceeded to masturbate to these photos and videos,” said Assistant District Attorney Caroline Goldstein, explaining the elements or factual basis of Stainbrook’s confession.
At the time of the incident, the girl was 15 years old. Stainbrook knew the girl’s family and used his cell phone to take photos and videos while he was around the girl several times in July 2021, including at a local pool, according to a criminal complaint filed by Montgomery County Detective Kathleen Kelly.
Judge Wendy G. Rothstein, who accepted the plea agreement in the case, also ordered that Stainbrook be placed under sex offender supervision with a requirement to continue sex offender treatment.
As a condition of his sentence, Stainbrook is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with minors other than his own children.
The judge said probation officials must monitor Stainbrook’s cellphone use and he will be subject to random background checks.
Stainbrook was ordered to have no contact with the victim or her family. Stainbrook was also ordered to pay $2,274 in restitution to cover the cost of counseling the victim sought.
During an eloquent statement in a courtroom packed with more than 50 of her supporters, the victim said Stainbrook stole her ability to trust others and feel safe.
“You ruined the way I used to look at things. You are the villain in my story. “You’re following me,” said the girl, turning to Stainbrook. “My parents trusted you. I trusted you. You are a disgrace to society.”
In a sign of support, the audience erupted into thunderous applause in the courtroom when the girl finished her speech.
The judge thanked the girl for her statement, adding: “That was very brave of you.”
Before he learned his fate, Stainbrook, represented by attorney Joshua Camson, apologized for his behavior.
“I want to say that I am very sorry for what I did. I know that for many my actions are unforgivable. I’m very sorry and I hope that everyone who was hurt by my actions can heal,” Stainbrook said in court.
The investigation began in July 2021, when county detectives received a tip from ChildLine that Stainbrook “surreptitiously photographed a 15-year-old girl in a swimsuit during a swim meet,” according to an arrest affidavit.
When the girl found out Stainbrook could be recording her, she said she “felt bad,” Kelly claims. The girl confided in a friend who allegedly witnessed one of the incidents. The victim then told her parents, according to court documents.
Detectives seized and searched Stainbrook’s cell phone on July 30, at which point Stainbrook admitted to taking photos of the girl in a swimsuit without her knowledge.
Stainbrook allegedly told detectives he took the photos because the girl was “familiar” and “pretty.” Stainbrook said he masturbated while viewing pictures he had taken of the girl’s bottom in a swimsuit and then deleted the images, the criminal complaint said.
Detectives said a search of Stainbrook’s phone revealed eight video files and 31 image files of the girl in a swimsuit, including several in which he focused the cellphone camera on the victim’s buttocks. Detectives said the 31 image files were screenshots taken from video files.