A 20-year-old who pleaded guilty to raping four teenage girls at his family’s mansion in Lewiston, New York, in 2017 and 2018 was given probation and will not go to jail.
Christopher Belter will serve his eight-year probation at home.
KVVU-TV reports that one of the victim’s attorneys, Steve Cohen, was furious by the judge’s decision, calling out Belter’s “privilege” as the deciding factor.
“He comes from money. He is White. He’s being sentenced as an adult, appropriately. And for an adult to get away with these crimes without doing jail time is unjust,” Cohen said.
Cohen added that his client, one of Belter’s victims, was “throwing up” in the bathroom following the verdict.
“I am deeply, deeply disappointed. I expected a different outcome today. Justice was not done today,” he said.
While Belter will face no jail time, Niagara County Judge Matthew Murphy ordered that the 20-year-old must register as a sex offender.
His probationary conditions order him to be employed or be a full-time student; remain in Niagara County; have no contact with any minors; no use of the internet; live with parents and make no overnight trips. He will also be subject to an order of protection by victims in addition to taking random polygraph and drug tests.
He addressed the court by reading a note 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,” he said. “I hope each of you could close that wound I gashed. I know though, that a scar will remain that will serve as a reminder of the evil of that.”
Belter will report back to court on Thursday, Dec. 2 to determine his level as a registered sex offender. It ranges from level one through three.