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Rich Man Who Raped Four Girls Walks Free, Judge Says Jail Time Is ‘Inappropriate’

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Christopher Belter

A New York man who raped four teenage girls during parties at his parents’ home will not face jail time after a judge Tuesday sentenced him to probation, saying that jail time would be “inappropriate” for the young man who is from a “wealthy and influential” family, The Washington Post reports.

Authorities said three 16-year-old girls and a 15-year-old girl were assaulted in four separate incidents. The sexual assaults took place between February 2017 and August 2018, The Post reported.

Twenty-year-old Christopher Belter pleaded guilty in 2019 to felony charges that included third-degree rape and attempted first-degree sexual abuse as well as two misdemeanor charges of second-degree sexual abuse. Officials said three 16-year-old girls and a 15-year-old girl were assaulted in four separate incidents, according to The Post.

Although Belter faced a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, the judge concluded that jail time for the man “would be inappropriate” in a ruling that shocked the courtroom.

After the guilty plea, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said he “agonized” over Belter’s case:

“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 The Post. “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.”

Christopher Belter

Christopher Belter. Source: Buffalo Police Dept.

The lawyer for one of the victims, Steven Cohen, was visibly enraged by the ruling, according to The Buffalo News. “Justice was not done here today,” he said.

“He is privileged, he comes from money, he is white. He was sentenced as an adult, appropriately. For an adult to get away with these crimes is unjust,” Cohen added.

The judge did not elaborate on why he did not impose jail time.

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