Update: Judge Baugh has apologized for saying the 14-year-old victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her attacker, NBC News reports. Baugh called himself "a blithering idiot" and acknowledged that "what I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in, and irrelevant to the sentencing." He added, "I owe all our fellow citizens an apology." However, despite his apology for his wording, Judge Baugh continued to defend his ruling.
Stacey Dean Rambold has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars after the male ex-teacher reportedly raped a 14-year-old female student named Cherice Morales repeatedly back in 2008, the Billings Gazette reports. You read that correctly: He got 30 days, not years.
This case has been open for nearly 5 years, during which the case has become even sadder. Unfortunately, in 2010, the then 17-year-old Cherice committed suicide. Her mother insists that her daughter’s traumatic rape was a “major factor” in her decision to end her life.
The case against Rambold had been pending up until that 2008 incident, but following Cherice’s suicide, the Yellowstone County District Attorney's office offered an agreement to Rambold that he would admit to one of the three rape charges — the other two would be dismissed — and attend a sex offender program.
Last November, Rambold was expelled from the program after it was discovered that “he had been having unsupervised visits with minors and had not informed his counselors that he had been having sexual relations with a woman.”
Despite Cherice’s mother’s pleading to the judge to put Rambold behind bars and the prosecution asking for a 20-year sentence with 10 years suspended, Judge Baugh decided on a 15-year sentence with all but 31 days suspended. Rambold received a credit for the single day he had already spent in jail.
Judge Baugh said his decision was based on the fact that the victim had been “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold.
Moms, what do you think about the judge’s decision?
Source: Billings Gazette