BILLINGS, Mont. — A former Billings Senior High School teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself has been sentenced to 30 days in jail by a judge who said the victim was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse without consent, with all but 31 days suspended. He gave Rambold, 54, credit for one day already served, the Billings Gazette reported.
The girl's mother repeatedly screamed, "You people suck!" and stormed out of the courtroom Monday.
In October 2008, Rambold was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent alleging that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with Cherice Morales, starting the previous year when she was 14. In 2010, Morales took her own life while the case was pending.
In July 2010, Rambold entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors that said the charges would be dismissed if Rambold completed a sex offender treatment program and met other conditions, including having no contact with children. He also admitted to one rape charge.
The case was revived in December when prosecutors learned Rambold had been terminated from the sex offender treatment program because he did not follow guidelines.
Defense attorney Jay Lansing said Rambold has since continued his treatment with a different program and an evaluation found him at low risk to re-offend.
The judge said he was not convinced that the reasons for Rambold's termination from treatment were serious enough to warrant the 10-year prison term prosecutors recommended.
The judge said he listened to statements given by Morales before her death and believed that while she was a troubled youth, she was "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold and was "older than her chronological age."