CNN)A man who pleaded guilty to the rape and sexual assault of four teenage girls will avoid prison time after a New York state judge said time behind bars would be inappropriate.
Christopher Belter, now 20, entered a plea deal in 2019 in which he agreed to plead guilty to attempted first-degree sexual abuse, third-degree rape and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, according to court documents.
The charges stem from four separate incidents in 2017 and 2018 in Lewiston, New York, the documents state. He and the victims were all under 18 at the time.
Belter was placed on interim probation for two years with limits on his internet use and access to pornography, the documents state.
But he violated the terms of his probation, according to court documents. Judge Matthew J. Murphy denied him Youthful Offender status and ruled he’d be sentenced as an adult, the documents state.
Last Tuesday, Judge Murphy issued a sentence of eight years of probation and ruled Belter must register as a sex offender — but said prison time would be inappropriate.
“I agonized. I’m not ashamed that to say that I actually prayed over what is the appropriate sentence in this case because there was great pain. There was great harm. There were multiple crimes committed in the case,” Judge Murphy said, according to CNN affiliate WKBW. “It seems to me that a sentence that involves incarceration or partial incarceration isn’t appropriate, so I am going to sentence you to probation.”