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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Bezaire’s Restrictions Eased; Plea Agreement Expected

Cape May Councilman Christopher Bezaire after his June 16 arrest. 

By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – During a pre-trial hearing Aug. 20, Cape May City Councilman Chris Bezaire had some of the restrictions on his movements eased. They were imposed following his June 16 arrest for alleged cyber harassment of an ex-girlfriend, stalking, disclosure of sexually explicit images of another person, and contempt of court. Bezaire June 24 was charged with similar crimes regarding a second woman.
Bezaire was arrested six times, in 2015, on charges related to domestic incidents, one involving assault. All the charges were dealt with in family court, without convictions, a point Bezaire pointed to when questioned about the incidents during his campaign for council.
The charges became an issue in his 2020 campaign. Referring to specific accusations of his violation of the Domestic Right Act and his arrest for driving under the influence in a Spout Off (https://bit.ly/3a2YGbx), Bezaire, before the election, stated, “While I am the person connected to those charges – neither of which resulted in a conviction – I am far from being that same person today.” 
“I have made mistakes in my past,” he added, “but rather than let them define me, I chose instead to learn from them, and see them as motivation for becoming a better person.” 
At Cape May Council’s Aug. 17 meeting, Bezaire’s remarks sounded similar. He asked for “patience,” while he rededicated himself to “efforts to be the best person I can be.” 
He said he could not address the charges, adding that he took “ownership” of his actions, and then characterized those actions as an inappropriate emotional response to “personal attacks.” 
At the Aug. 20 pre-trial hearing, Bezaire’s attorney, John Tumelty, said of his client, “He is doing great, judge.” 
Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Hance argued against easing restrictions on Bezaire, saying he still casts himself in the role of the victim. 
At the Aug. 17 meeting, where Bezaire addressed the public, no other council member made any statement regarding the charges and his participation as a council member. 
Mayor Zack Mullock is on record as saying that the legal proceedings must play themselves out. He is also on record as saying that “Cape May City has no tolerance for harassment of any kind.” 
Judge Bernard DeLury held over the case until Sept. 17, by which time a plea agreement is expected.

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