Woman sexually assaulted by a Niagara County man speaks out after he’s sentenced to probation

Local News

(WIVB) — A woman raped by a Niagara County man is speaking out after a judge sentenced him without jail time.

Earlier this week, 20-year-old Christopher Belter received a sentence of eight years of probation.

Judge Matthew Murphy decided against the maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Belter sexually assaulted four girls when he was a teenager, during parties at his parents’ house in Lewiston in 2017 and 2018.

“She is forever going to carry this with here,” said attorney Steve Cohen, who represents a young lady known in court papers as ‘MM’. She is one of the victims.

“I will have to live with this for the rest of my life knowing that he’s walking the streets and that another girl can be a victim of his any day now,” said the victim who was 16 at the time. “It’s terrifying. It was as if I was being victimized all over again,” she told CBS News. “No, I was sick to my stomach, shaking with anger and disgust.”

Depending on which case, Belter would have been 16 or 17 at the time of the attacks. He pled guilty to rape and sexual assault and was granted youthful offender status, but this year, after violating probation, he was resentenced as an adult. Niagara County Court Judge Matthew Murphy said it would still be inappropriate to send him prison, and sentenced Belter to 8 years probation on the condition he register as sex offender, submit a sample for DNA data base, take polygraph testing, and avoid initiating contact with minors unless they are family.

“It’s telling people, if you’re a rapist, is privileged, comes from a wealthy background , grew up in a mansion, is white , you’re going to get away with it,” said Cohen. “That is a horrible message.”

But a long time legal analyst tells News 4 “it is rare” to see a jail sentence for a sexual assault by a 17 year old. In fact, this same judge handed down a probation sentence to Niagara Wheatfield student Elias Dowdy for a rape he committed when he was 17.

Belter’s attorneys told the court he’s “Tremendously remorseful for what he’s done.”

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