A Montana teacher who was convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl, recently had his one month sentence overturned.
A judge had originally said that the victim was just as responsible for the sexual acts as the 40-year-old teacher and felt the one month sentence was sufficient punishment.
Judge G. Todd Baugh’s sentence angered many people and even led to protests that demanded he resign.
The Montana Supreme Court overturned the sentence and will resentence teacher Stacey Dean Rambold. Rambold served his original 30 day sentence and has since been released.
The overturned sentence may have taken longer than it should have, but many people involved with the case are confident that justice will finally be served.
“Adolescent victims are consistently blamed for either seducing their rapist or for some other behaviors. Members of the public have stepped up to protest in previous cases, such as the teen rapes in Steubenville, Ohio, and “to educate their own community and beyond about the importance of not victim-blaming,” said Jennifer Long, director of AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women, in Washington. “but it seems that we are still stuck in this cycle … where [some of] the very people who should know this information – judges, prosecutors, and other professionals – still believe in the myths and still engage in very dangerous practices.”
Judge Baugh was also happy with the decision to resentence Rambold and admitted that he may have made a mistake in being so lenient with him during his trial. He had even tried to set a hearing to resentence him himself last year, but was unable to do so.
The Judicial Standards Commission has a pending disciplinary complaint against Baugh, and he will likely receive disciplinary action for his incorrect sentencing and inappropriate comments about the case.
Victim Cherice Morales was only 14 when she was sexually assaulted by Rambold. When Cherice was 16 and the case was still pending, she killed herself.
What do you think of the original sentence term?
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