Decide says jail ‘inappropriate’ for New York man who sexually assaulted 4 teenagers

A New York man who pleaded responsible to rape and sexual abuse for assaulting 4 teenage ladies when he was additionally a teen prevented jail when a choose sentenced him Tuesday to eight years probation, in keeping with an legal professional for one of many victims.

Niagara County Courtroom Decide Matthew J. Murphy III stated a jail sentence for Christopher Belter, 20, “can be inappropriate,” in keeping with The Buffalo Information.

The ruling shocked the courtroom and Belter’s victims.

“My shopper threw up within the girls room following the sentencing,” Steven M. Cohen, an legal professional for one of many victims instructed NBC Information. He added that she was “deeply dissatisfied within the sentencing.”

“I’ve been practising legislation for over 30 years. If Chris Belter was not a white defendant from a wealthy and influential household, in my expertise he wouldn’t have obtained the unique plea deal, and he would certainly have been sentenced to jail,” Cohen stated.

Barry N. Covert, an legal professional for Belter, declined to remark. Covert instructed reporters within the courtroom that his shopper was “remorseful.”


Belter was charged with first-degree rape, third-degree rape and sexual abuse in 2018. The following 12 months, as a part of a plea deal, he pleaded responsible in 2019 to lesser felony expenses of third-degree rape and tried first-degree sexual abuse.

Belter was placed on two years probation by one other choose, who has since retired, and given the possibility to use for youthful offender standing if he didn’t violate the phrases of his probation, in keeping with The Buffalo Information.

However he admitted final month to putting in software program on his laptop that will bypass a block that will stop him from viewing pornography, the newspaper reported. He instructed his probation officer he has been watching porn since he was 7, in keeping with The Buffalo Information.

Murphy denied Belter youthful offender standing because of the violation.


“The belief when Decide Murphy denied youthful offender standing was that Chris Belter would obtain jail time,” Cohen stated.

However Murphy stated Tuesday that he “agonized” over the sentencing.

“I’m not ashamed to say I really prayed over what the suitable sentence can be,” Murphy stated. He sentenced Belter to 10 years probation, with 2 years credit score for time served.

A listening to in entrance of Murphy will probably be held early subsequent month to find out Belter’s intercourse offender standing, Cohen stated.


Belter’s crimes befell in his house, which is located within the rich Lewiston neighborhood.

Belter’s mom, Tricia Vacanti, his stepfather, Gary E. Sullo, and  household pal, Jessica M. Lengthy, are accused of supplying the victims, three 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old, with alcohol and marijuana on completely different dates between 2017 and 2018 to groom them for the assaults, The Buffalo Information reported, citing New York State Police.

They’ve pleaded not responsible to misdemeanor expenses of kid endangerment and unlawfully coping with a baby.

Efforts to achieve Vacanti and Sullo by cellphone Thursday weren’t profitable. Lengthy, when reached on her cellphone, declined to remark.