Montana Judge’s Ethics Questioned After Giving a Rapist 31 Days in PrisonBy: Erika Watts - December 3, 2013
The judge in Montana that made headlines back in August for giving a rapist a 31-day sentence has now apologized for comments he made about the victim. Judge G. Todd Baugh made comments that the 14-year-old rape victim looked older than she was and had control in the situation. Even though Baugh stands by his decision, he now says he is sorry for making the controversial comments.
Baugh heard the case against Stacey Dean Rambold, a former teacher that was accused of raping 14-year-old student Cherice Moralez in 2007. Rambold was 47 at the time of the rape. According to reports, Rambold sexually assaulted Moralez three times at his home; Moralez filed charges against Rambold about a year later. The teen committed suicide before the case went to trial, and Rambold was eventually found guilty on one count of sexual intercourse without consent.
The prosecution wanted to put Rambold behind bars for 10 years. At the suggestion of Rambold’s attorney, Baugh decided to sentence the man to 15 years in prison with all but 31 days of the sentence suspended. According to the defense, Rambold suffered enough by losing his job. Even though Rambold was only sentenced to 31 days in prison, he will remain on probation for 14 years.
As outrageous as Baugh’s decision was, some of the comments he made during the sentencing have received just as much ire. Baugh said that Moralez appeared “older than her chronological age” and that she was “probably as much in control of the situation as was the defendant.” The judge maintains that his comments had absolutely no impact on his ruling, which many people find hard to believe. Instead, Baugh claims that his reason for the slap on the wrist was because of Rambold’s behavior in the time following being arrested for rape.
“The defendant’s last legal or moral transgression was the crime he committed and admitted,” Baugh said. “In the ensuing almost six years, he had legally and morally good conduct, he was reinstated in sex offender treatment and the undisputed evidence supported community placement and treatment.”
Many people believe that Baugh should resign from his seat, something he refuses to do. “I shouldn’t have said that…I don’t contest that appearance of impropriety,” Baugh said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to be removed.”[Image via YouTube]