Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh made a decision in 2013 that would outrage an entire nation.
A 14-year-old had been raped by former teacher Stacey Rambold. The teen, Cherice Moralez, committed suicide in 2010 while the case was still at trial.
Prosecutors were pushing for a sentence of 20 years, 10 suspended, for Rambold while the defense requested 15 years with all but 30 days suspended.
Baugh went with the lighter sentence, and so the stage was set for Rambold to walk free after just 30 days in prison.
The Judge’s reasoning was simple, though maligned.
Rambold had not committed a violent, forcible rape, he said. The victim looked “older than her chronological age” and she definitely had “as much control over the situation” as her 54-year-old attacker.
For these comments, Judge G. Todd Baugh suffered a hellacious backlash, to the point that he would eventually admit he deserved the criticism.
“What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing… My apologies to all my fellow citizens.”
While some might choose to forgive Baugh for the comments, it’s doubtful that even those individuals would think the judge is deserving of an award, but that is exactly what he will be getting from the Yellowstone Area Bar Association, Huffington Post reports.
Marian Bradley, Northwest regional director for the National Organization for Women (NOW), is one such person not ready to forgive Baugh’s comments.
“The last chapter in his career, he put himself out there and did not protect a young girl and did not protect a community,” Bradley said. “Giving him a lifetime achievement award is going to send people into tailspins.”
The Associated Press caught up to Baugh upon news that he would be receiving the award, and he had this to say.
“I’m not trying to say I didn’t make any mistakes. If you go into all the mistakes that were made, it would give a better-balanced report.”
The President of the Bar Association said that G. Todd Baugh was nominated by members of the board, but declined to reveal their identities.
Colleague Russell Fagg, a district judge, stood by Baugh’s career in comments to the Billings Gazette in December of last year.
“He has made thousands of good calls, and a few bad calls, as have all of us,” Fagg said. “Bottom line: Baugh is a wonderful person.”
Do you think the actions of Judge G. Todd Baugh in the Rambold rape case should negate the value of his career? Is giving him a lifetime achievement award after he blamed a rape victim for the crime against her out of line? Sound off in the comments section.