A teacher in Montana, Stacey Dean Rambold, was convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl, He was sentenced for his crime in 2007. But the judge said during sentencing that he felt that the victim was just as responsible for the rape as the man, so he only handed down a sentence of 15 years, but suspended all but 31 days of that sentence. In the end, Rambold would only have to serve one month in jail for raping a 14-year-old.
The victim’s family was outraged. Later, the victim herself committed suicide.
Yellowstone County District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh had said that he felt the victim “seemed older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold. In Iran, rape victims are commonly blamed for their rapes, as well.
“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 The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women. “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.”
Now that ridiculous sentence has been overturned and Rambold will be re-sentenced. He had already served out his month and had been released.
Judge Baugh has since said that he made a mistake in handing down such a short sentence, but could not re-sentence Rambold himself. He has expressed satisfaction that the re-sentencing is happening, but he could still face consequences, including being unseated as a judge.
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