By Claire Gordon •
Published: 21 Nov 2021 • 14:58
Image: Niagara County Sheriff's Office
A judge has spared a New York man who pleaded guilty to raping and sexually assaulting four young women from jail, saying a custodial sentence would be “inappropriate”. Private school rapist Christopher Belter walked free after being handed eight years of probation and an order to register himself as a sex offender.
Niagara County Judge, Matthew Murphy, said: “I agonised — 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,” said the judge.
“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. It’s going to be like a sword hanging over your head for the next eight years.”
Lawyers representing the victims said their clients were visibly upset by the sentencing, and the lawyers themselves are outraged by the judge’s actions. Lawyer Steve Cohen, who represents one of the victims, slammed the judge’s sentencing. I am deeply, deeply disappointed. I expected a different outcome today. Justice was not done today. He is privileged. He comes from money. He is white. Christopher Belter was sentenced as an adult, appropriately — for an adult to get away with these crimes is unjust.”
Christoper Belter, 20, attended an elite private school and was just 17 when he was initially charged in 2018 with first-degree rape, third-degree rape and sexual abuse involving multiple girls aged 15 and 16 at his family home. The private school rapist lost his youth offender status when he failed to follow his earlier probation rules regarding the accessing of pornography.
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