Christopher Belter, 20, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape, attempted sexual abuse and two counts of second degree sexual abuse involving four teenage girls in an 18-month span at parties inside his family's mansion in Lewiston, New York, not far from Niagara Falls. He faced eight years in prison.
But Judge Matthew Murphy ruled that "incarceration … isn't appropriate" and Belter would be sentenced to eight years of probation.
As one of the victim's lawyers put it:
If Belter didn't come from an affluent family, the outcome would have been much different, MM's attorney, Steven Cohen, told CBS News.
"I've been a trial lawyer for over 30 years," Cohen said. "If this individual was not a rich white kid from a privileged background and an influential family, he would be in prison right now."
Judges seem to have an allergy to sending rich white kids to prison for sex crimes, or even manslaughter. It didn't seem to matter that the kid's home was commonly used by the kid for drug parties.
The Times' story noted that the perp had violated probation. Typically, when a defendant is being sentenced for a serious crime and there is a history of probation violations, off to prison they go.
Three adults, including the perp's parents, are facing charges of facilitating the drug and booze parties for minors. It's probably dead-nuts certain that they'll express remorse and get a slap on their wrists.
Being white and rich has its privileges when it comes to the criminal justice system.
Same as it ever was.