A teen whose sexual assault perpetrators have been excused from prison despite pleading guilty to raping or sexually assaulting four girls said she was “trembling with anger” at the judge’s decision.
Christopher Belter Jr., now 20, was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday for a series of sexual offenses against girls between the ages of 15 and 16 while he was a student at an elite private school in upstate New York.
Now a survivor has warned that he fears the abuse will come back thanks to Judge Matthew Murphy, and claims that there are still many women he abused who haven’t come forward.
In an interview with independent On Friday, she said, “I think this is the beginning of his crimes. His nature is manipulative. He’s tactical…Now he doesn’t have a short enough streak. I think he’s perfectly capable of offending again while on probation.”
According to court papers, a psychiatric evaluation in October assessed Pelter as “above average risk of criminality.”
The probation decision sparked outrage across the United States this week, with a victim’s lawyer saying Belter “would definitely have been sentenced to prison” if he had not been a “white accused from a rich and influential family”.
Belter, the son of a successful lawyer, was placed on probation in 2019 after agreeing to plead guilty to less serious charges. A judge told Belter that he would need to be “perfect” to avoid imprisonment, but he broke his parole terms by deliberately circumventing his computer’s monitoring software to view pornography on the Internet.
The woman, whose name was not mentioned, said independent Because she requested anonymity.
“I’ve been physically ill for three days. I’m going to college away from my dad, and my dad had to call me and tell me to eat something. I’ve lost four pounds in the past three days.
“[The judge] He said he prayed to find the right sentence for Christopher. I don’t think the god I pray for overcoming the trauma caused by Christopher is the same god that Judge Murphy prayed for.”
Christopher Pelter’s attorney declined to comment independent.
“I would either kill myself or advance.”
The woman was 15 years old in November 2017 when Belter assaulted her while she was sleeping at his family’s large home in Lewiston, New York the night before Thanksgiving.
She and her classmates at Nardin Academy, a private school for girls, were often invited to drink and party, allegedly encouraged by Belter’s mother Tricia Vacante.
On the night of the attack, she had used the vape pen Belter gave her to take THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, and had severe hallucinations. She said buffalo news She remembers saying “no” over and over while Belter assaulted her, and woke up the next morning bruised and “beaten”.
The woman, known in some court papers as Jane Doe, is suing Pelter, Vacanti, her husband, Gary Solow, and Pelter’s father, Christopher Pelter, Sr. for personal injuries and medical expenses, accusing the three adults of negligently promoting Belter’s abuse. All three denied the allegations.
Now 19, the woman says it took about six months for her to realize what had happened to her. She developed complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), and suffered from “behavioral issues”.
“I was just an enigma at that point,” she says. “No one knew why I was behaving the way I was. No one knew why I was worried. He put my family in trouble trying to figure out what was wrong with me. It wasn’t something I wanted my family to know.
“It wasn’t until my younger brother, who was 13 at the time, found me in my bedroom amidst a suicide attempt that I finally told my family.”
It was September 2018, and other survivors were beginning to come forward. The woman’s close childhood friend, known in court papers as “MM,” had reported a government child abuse helpline after she was raped by Belter.
“That was my last straw,” says the woman. “I knew I was going to either kill myself or come forward – and step forward for her, and for the other girls who were attacked.”
I wasn’t the first victim
As more survivors began telling their stories, they realized they weren’t alone. The woman said, “I wasn’t the first victim… At that time, there were other calls about the same house, same boy, same family.
“[One] The investigator told me he had received nearly 25 phone calls from different girls and families believed to be the victim of Christopher Belter, [who] We decided not to fully advance because the four of us were going to fight for them.”
Everyone assured her that progress was the right thing to do, and she felt a sense of responsibility for the other survivors. In 2019, another Niagara County judge sentenced Belter to two years in prison, telling him he must be “perfect” to avoid being judged as an adult.
Jane Doe has been crushed. “Unfortunately, I thought the attorney general at the time was an appropriate measure for Christopher’s crimes,” she says. “I feel like I and my family were manipulated into believing that this was the logical decision….I suppressed my suspicions.”
She did not speak to the media for a long time because investigators told her that it might interfere with the case. She has also struggled with being anonymous, feeling dehumanized by her label “Jane Doe,” a name stockpiled for the protection of rape victims but also for deceased women whose identity cannot be identified.
I also found it difficult to understand how Belter’s crimes had been allowed to happen. A separate lawsuit brought by the MM family puts much of the blame on Vacanti, accusing her of ‘grooming’ [MM and other girls to be prey for her predator son”.
The lawsuit alleges: “Vacanti cultured a relationship with MM with all the characteristics of a peer to peer friendship, including the mutual exchange of personal and confidential information…
“Vacanti would flatter and compliment MM’s appearance, find points of insecurity in MM’s psyche and use them… [she] She earned MM’s trust by making space for her and others to celebrate drugs and alcohol.”
Jane Doe agrees with that description. “I feel totally taken care of,” she says. “Tricia Vacanti was always with us, drinking – to the point of incompetence on my part and on the part of the girls. She was telling us to go find Christopher at some points.
“She was waiting in her kitchen with shots of jelly on a silver platter for us. She was lecturing us about how beautiful her son was. She did everything she could to make us trust her – trust Christopher was a good kid.”
Doe claims that Vacanti told one of the victims that Belter had seen a doctor and that he would be taken to a rehab center. After that point, M. was raped.
The woman also says prosecutors have refused to charge Vacanti as an accomplice in the assaults, responded with hostility to the families’ attempts to lobby for it, and accused Doe’s parents of trying to advance their civil case.
Statement of the rule of the rapist “schadenfreude” was “my knife”
Vacanti, Sullo, Belter Sr and their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment from independent.
In court filings, Vacanti, Solo and Belter Sr. denied the accusations of “Jane Doe” and M. Through her attorney, Kante said that “any and all losses or damages to the plaintiffs were due to the act, acts or omissions of a third party,” and asked the judge to exclude both cases.
Police have brought charges against Vacante and Olu, a family friend, of endangering children and illegal handling of a child. The three have pleaded not guilty, and the case is still ongoing.
Today, the woman known as Jane Doe still suffers from C-PTSD that sometimes leaves her lazy and unable to go out in public because she has to be around men.
She believes that the influence of the Belter family and his connections contributed to the mitigation of his sentence and to the fact that his attacks continued for a long time. “I don’t know what to blame — besides the privilege,” she said.
At the sentencing hearing, Peeler was allowed to speak in court. “I hope each of you can close the wound that you have wounded,” he said. “But I know the scar will remain to serve as a reminder to the mortals of that night.”
The woman described this to independent As “schadenfreude”.
She said, “It was said in a bragging way. For me that’s what fuels it, just turning the knife on us, over and over again, thank you for reminding me, Christopher.”
While Jane Doe requested anonymity, she and MM gave permission independent To post their photos, so readers can see the truth about Pelter’s crimes.
“I feel like an important part of this is people realizing that there really is a 15-year-old girl behind all of this – and how we looked,” she said.