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Criminal Law

A Judge Deems It ‘Inappropriate’ to Sentence a Rapist to Prison

On Tuesday, a Niagara County judge decided not to give 20-year-old Christopher Belter any prison time after he pleaded guilty in 2019 to raping four teenage girls. Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, who asked reporters at an earlier hearing not to publish Belter’s name despite the fact that the case was already a public story, told the court that he “agonized” over the decision but ultimately came to the conclusion that sending Belter to prison “would be inappropriate.” Instead of prison time, Murphy sentenced Belter to eight years’ probation, which he told the defendant would be “like a sword hanging over your head for the next eight years.”

Belter’s case stems from four separate assaults he committed in 2017 and 2018 at his parents’ house in a wealthy part of Lewiston, a small town near Niagara Falls. According to local media, his home was known as a “party house,” and his mother, stepfather, and a family friend have also been charged with supplying alcohol and weed to three of the teen girls Belter assaulted. The three adults face over 50 criminal charges combined, though their trial was postponed last year and has yet to happen. Before the postponement, their defense attorneys had a judge review two of the victims’ mental health records, arguing that their underage drinking made them unreliable witnesses.

Read the source article at thecut.com

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