COURT HOUSE - At a Superior Court hearing Sept. 17, Cape May City Councilman Christopher Bezaire, 43, also a local realtor, pleaded guilty to charges that he stalked an ex-girlfriend and violated a court order. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21 before Judge Bernard DeLury.
Bezaire was arrested June 16 on charges that also included invasion of privacy and cyber harassment. While incarcerated for almost two weeks in the Cape May County Correctional Facility, Bezairehad new charges added relating to similar behavior toward a second woman, including posting lewd or obscene photos of her with the intent to cause emotional harm.
The total charges against him grew to seven. He was considered a no-bail offender until DeLury ordered his release June 28.
In the Sept. 17 plea arrangement, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to have Bezaire plead guilty to two of the charges, both in the fourth degree. Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland June 16 issued a press release concerning Bezaire’s arrest. With the plea agreement complete, Sutherland’s office has not responded to requests for a comment on the reduced charges.
Among the charges that Bezaire did not have to plead guilty to under the arrangement was invasion of privacy, the only third-degree offense in the charges brought against him.
Bezaire was arrested six times in 2015 for harassment and damage to property. One of those arrests involved an assault charge. None of the charges led to convictions and were disposed of in family court, a point Bezaire made at the time.
In 2020, the encounters with the law became public, as Bezaire pursued election to the council. Responding to public comments on a harassment charge and a driving while intoxicated arrest, Bezaire, in October 2020, stated, “While I am the person connected to these charges, neither of which resulted in a conviction, I am far from being that same person today.”
Months later, confirmed by his guilty plea, Bezaire engaged in criminal behavior against two women.
Bezaire issued a short statement following the hearing this week, saying, “I am humbled by the agreement that was reached today. I have come to a point in my life where I’ve been given the opportunity to examine my behaviors and actions and, more, importantly, change them in a positive manner.”
It is a similar promise of change and personal growth that he made in 2020 when he stated, “I have made mistakes in my past, but rather than let them define me, I chose instead to learn from them.”
In neither statement nor in his extended comments to the public at an Aug. 17 council meeting did Bezaire offer any comment to the women harmed by his actions. In this era of heightened sensitivity to the harassment of women, he was not challenged to do so by any other member of council or any member of the public at the meeting.
In June, Mayor Zack Mullock said, “The City of Cape May has no tolerance for harassment of any kind. All parties are entitled to due process, and that process will have to play itself out.”
A request for comment by Mullock and Deputy Mayor Stacy Sheehan after the guilty plea was not returned.
The Sept. 17 hearing also resulted in Bezaire having the ankle bracelet that he had worn since being released from jail removed. He was permitted by DeLury to travel to California to attend a real estate conference. He was otherwise told he cannot leave the state. The court was told Bezaire entered an alcohol rehabilitation program.
To contact Vince Conti, email email@example.com.