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Group files complaint against judge in Belter case

Posted at 6:24 PM, Nov 22, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A story we’ve been following for three years is now getting national attention, and catching the eye of sexual assault advocacy groups.

John Bellocchio from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has filed a complaint with the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct against Niagara County Judge Matthew Murphy. Murphy sentenced 20 year-old Christopher Belter to no jail time, instead eight years probation for raping and sexually assaulting four teen girls in his parents Lewiston home.

“Like so many thousands of other people I read about it in the New York Times and online and I saw what appeared to be a problem with the sentencing,” Bellocchio said. “I think the judge could restore some faith in the justice system if he chose today as his last day,” he said.

Bellocchio says he was outraged with Murphy’s Niagara County Court decision on Belter.

“The purpose of our court system is to be equitable and fair, and to make sure the punishment fits the crime,” he said.

Bellocchio says he believes Judge Murphy, who has already announced his retirement for the end of December should be suspended immediately.

“This judge had the opportunity to put out the fire but he chose to let it keep burning,” said MM, one of Belter’s sexual assault survivors.

“This has to be appealed, this has to be reconsidered,” she said. “Us victims, we are not ready to give up fighting.”