Judge in Rape Case Criticized for Light Sentence, Remarks About Victim
A Montana judge has come under fire after handing down a 30-day sentence to a former high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student and for making statements in court that the victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher.
Outrage is particularly sharp in Billings, where the crime took place, because the girl committed suicide in 2010, just shy of her 17th birthday, as the criminal case was pending. A protest was planned for Thursday, and organizers have called on Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh to resign.
The uproar began Monday when Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, to 15 years in prison on one count of sexual intercourse without consent, but then suspended all but 31 days and gave him credit for one day served. Prosecutors had asked for 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended.
Baugh said that after reviewing statements made by the girl before her death, he concluded that she was a troubled youth. He then made the controversial remarks, including that he thought the girl had been “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold. The girl’s mother, Auliea Hanlon, was in the courtroom and screamed at the judge before storming out, according to the Associated Press.