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20-Year-Old Man Who Raped And Sexually Abused 4 Teen Girls Is Let Go With No Prison Time

20-Year-Old Man Who Raped And Sexually Abused 4 Teen Girls Is Let Go With No Prison Time

Christopher Belter was instead given eight years’ probation by a judge who said he had “agonized” over the decision.

A 20-year-old man from New York is spared prison after pleading guilty to rape and sexual abuse for assaulting four teenage girls during parties at his parents’ home. Instead, he has been sentenced to eight years of probation on Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree sex abuse, third-degree attempted abuse, and third-degree rape against four underage girls. Although Christopher Belter faced a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said he “agonized” over the case and that time behind bars for the man “would be inappropriate.”



 

 

 
“I’m not ashamed to say that I actually prayed over what is the appropriate sentence in this case because there was great pain. There was great harm. There were multiple crimes committed in the case,” Murphy said, according to WKBW. “It seems to me that a sentence that involves incarceration or partial incarceration isn’t appropriate, so I am going to sentence you to probation.” The 20-year-old will have to register as a sex offender as part of his sentence, which would be “like a sword hanging over your head for the next eight years,” according to the judge. As per his probation restrictions, it will include:

Remain in Niagara County
Have employment or be a full-time student
Live with parents
Order of protection by victims
No contact with anyone under 18
No internet unless given permission by probation
No overnight trips
No visiting locations where minors are present unless probation agrees
Random polygraph and drug tests

Belter addressed the court before his sentencing. “Through treatment and reflection, I’ve come to feel deep shame and regret for my actions none of you deserved to be in this situation,” stated Belter. “I hope each of you could close that wound I gashed.” Reading from his notes, he added, “I know though, that a scar will remain that will serve as a reminder of the evil of that night." 



 

 

The decision shocked many people in the courtroom. Steven M. Cohen, a lawyer for one of the victims told reporters, “Justice was not done here.” He told the Washington Post, that his client, who was joined by some of the other victims in the courtroom, was “deeply disappointed” in the sentencing. “My client threw up in the ladies room following the sentencing,” Cohen said. “If Chris Belter was not a White defendant from a rich and influential family, in my experience … he would surely have been sentenced to prison.” The assaults took place between February 2017 and August 2018 at Belter’s parents’ home in a wealthy neighborhood of Lewiston. Belter is due back in court on Dec. 3 for a determination of the level of his sex-offender classification, Cohen said. Barry N. Covert, Belter’s attorney, said that his client regrets his actions as a teen. “He is tremendously remorseful for what he has done,” Covert said, according to the Buffalo News. “There are clients who are never able to empathize with their victims no matter how much counseling they receive. Chris isn’t one of them.”