Sunday, November 28

Outrage in New York after judge did not send to prison a young man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four minors

Following the court’s decision, the victims and their families expressed their frustration at the ruling.

Daniel Barry / Getty Images

A 20-year-old man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four teenagers in New York received eight years of probation by the judge in charge of the case, which sparked criticism and outrage.

The sentence for Christopher Belter, 20, was handed down by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, whose decision outraged the victims and their families, leaving public opinion against the ruling.

According to the BBC, Belter’s rapes occurred between February 2017 and August 2018. The young man was attending a private school in Buffalo, New York, and the victims, who were between 15 and 16 years old, were assaulted in separate incidents, indicated the complaint.

In 2019, The Washington Post announced that the young man pleaded guilty to the crimes of rape in the third degree and attempted sexual assault in the first degree; He was also charged with two minor charges of second degree sexual abuse.

“Through treatment and reflection, I have come to feel deep shame and regret for my actions; None of you deserved to be in this situation, ”said Belter.

Although American public opinion hoped that eight years in prison would have been a sufficient sentence for the 20-year-old, Judge Murphy III considered this “inappropriate.”

“It seems to me that a sentence involving incarceration or partial incarceration is not appropriate, so I am going to sentence you to probation,” the judge told Belter.

Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seamn made no secret of his frustration at the decision, and stated that the authorities considered that a prison sentence was appropriate in this case, the BBC said.

The victims also claimed that justice was not served in the case. Even Steven M. Cohen, attorney for one of the victims, said: “My client vomited in the ladies’ room after sentencing.”

“If Chris Belter were not a white defendant from a wealthy and influential family, in my experience he would surely have been sentenced to prison,” Cohen stressed.

Belter had received two years of provisional probation if he served his sentence, but he broke the rules after accessing pornography without authorization, and after that, Judge Murphy III indicated that he would be treated as an adult offender, since at the time of his crimes he was still a minor.

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