Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Montana judge defends 30-day sentence for girl's rape

BILLINGS, Mont. — Faced with growing backlash, a Billings, Mont., judge who sentenced a man to 30 days for raping a 14-year-old girl is standing by his decision and comments that the girl was older than her "chronological age" when it came to sexual matters.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh handed down the sentence Monday after former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold, 54, was terminated from a sexual offender treatment program that was part of a deal to have his prosecution deferred. The judge said he wasn't convinced that the reasons for Rambold's termination from the program were serious enough to warrant a 10-year prison term recommended by prosecutors.

In handing down the sentence, Baugh also said Cherice Moralez was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher.

Moralez killed herself in 2010 at age 16 while the case was pending.

A petition for the judge's censure is being drafted and a protest was scheduled for Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park, which adjoins Yellowstone County Courthouse in downtown Billings.

The girl's mother, Auleia Hanlon, left the sentencing hearing screaming, "You people suck!" She said in a statement Tuesday she no longer believes in justice after Baugh's remarks and sentence, the Billings Gazette reported.

"She wasn't even old enough to get a driver's license. But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age," Hanlon said. "I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14."

Under state law, children younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse.

Baugh told the newspaper Tuesday that he stood by his comments that Moralez was a troubled youth who was older than her age when it came to sexual matters. That didn't make Rambold's sex with Moralez any less of a crime, he said.

"Obviously, a 14-year-old can't consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape," Baugh said. "It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape."

Moralez's death complicated the case, Baugh said. The prosecution and defense reached an agreement after her death that Rambold would enter sexual-offender treatment.

If the former teacher completed treatment and complied with other conditions, the case would have been closed.

Rambold was terminated from the program in November when it was learned that he had been having unsupervised visits with minors, who were family members, and did not inform counselors that he had been having sexual relations with a woman.

"I think what people are seeing is a sentence for rape of 30 days. Obviously on the face of it, if you look at it that way, it's crazy," Baugh said. "No wonder people are upset. I'd be upset, too, if that happened."

Montana judge defends 30-day sentence for girl's rape 08/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Republicans to unveil broad tax cuts Wednesday, put off tough decisions

    Business

    President Donald Trump and top Republicans will promise a package of sweeping tax cuts for companies and individuals, the Washington Post reports, but the GOP leaders will stop short of labeling many of the tax breaks they hope to strip away, putting off controversial decisions that threaten to sink the party's tax …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. [Alex Brandon | Associated Press]
  2. Double your fun: Twitter's testing a 280-character limit for tweets

    News

    Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company's famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. "It's staying," Dorsey told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. "It's a good constraint for us."

    In this 2013, file photo, the Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. [AP photo]
  3. Dead woman with sun tattoo found near elementary school

    News

    TAMPA --- She had a tattoo of a sun on her abdomen, with the words "The World is Mine."

  4. CentCom shares complexities of job with Tampa Rotarians

    Macdill

    TAMPA — As the commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel has one of the world's most challenging to-do lists.

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, tells Tampa Rotarians about the complexities of the region he oversees. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Times staff]
  5. Rick Baker debuts new campaign ad to woo younger voters

    Blogs

    Former mayor Rick Baker's campaign unveiled a reboot of sorts Tuesday with the debut of a new TV ad.

    In a new ad, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker surprises a group of people in a restaurant who are talking about his accomplishments. He says, "You ain't seen nothing yet."