This is absolutely outrageous.
A former Montana high school teacher who admitted to raping his 14-year-old student received only a month in prison at his sentencing on Monday.
Stacey Dean Rambold was a teacher at Billings Senior High School in 2008, when he began a sexual relationship with his 14-year-old student. Once school officials learned of the relationship, Rambold resigned and was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
The 14-year-old girl was just about to turn 17 when she ended up committing suicide.
On Monday, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Rambold to 20 years in prison, while the defense argued that he had “suffered enough” with the publicity surrounding the case. The teen’s mother told the court that the rape contributed to her daughter’s suicide.
Judge G. Todd Baugh sided with the defense and suspended almost all of Rambold’s sentence, except for 30 days. In an outrageous declaration, Baugh said that the teen was “as much in control of the situation as he was” and that she was “older than her chronological age.”
Dr. Drew had some strong opinions about Judge Baugh’s statements on CNN yesterday:
After the teen’s death, the prosecution had entered into a “deferred prosecution agreement” with Rambold, meaning that all charges against him would be dismissed if he completed a sex offender treatment program and did not have any contact with children. Rambold didn’t comply with the terms which is why he was to be sentenced on Monday.
So not only did he rape an innocent 14-year-old (and yes, Judge Baugh, she certainly was innocent), but he couldn’t even comply with the terms of his agreement with the State.
This is a “slap on the wrist” if I ever heard one.
Judge Baugh also commented that he felt that Rambold could be rehabilitated and didn’t pose a danger of re-offending. How can he be so sure that he won’t re-offend and hurt another little girl? I wonder if he would feel differently if he had a young daughter who was in Rambold’s presence?
This story is beyond disgusting, and I’m obviously not the only one who is outraged by this. There is a petition that has been started to try and force Baugh to resign. You can click HERE to sign it (I already did).
UPDATE: 8/28 6:46 PM
I just saw on Jane Vellez-Mitchell that Judge Baugh has issued an apology. Below is a portion of what he said:
“I made some references to the victim’s age and control. I’m not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point, but it didn’t come out correctly. What I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in, and irrelevant to this sentencing. My apologies to all my fellow citizens. I will add an addendum to the court file to hopefully better explain the sentence.”
UPDATE: 9/26/13 7:10 AM
Rambold will be released from prison today, as his 30 day sentence expires. Calls for Judge Baugh’s resignation are still being made and the movement seems bigger than ever.
There’s a chance the court will review Rambold’s sentence and send him back to jail, but no word on when that could be.
UPDATE: 11/30/13 1:07 PM
Prosecutors have filed an appeal, arguing that the sentencing by the district court didn’t meet the state’s mandatory minimum sentence. They are asking for Rambold to serve 10 years behind bars.