How long should a person be sentenced if they are convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl? According to Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh, about 30 days.
Petitions have been circulating around the internet this week asking for Baugh’s resignation but the Montana Judge is sticking by his sentence.
Baugh, who was criticized for saying that the 14-year-old girl looked “older than her chronological age” and had “as much control over the situation” as her teacher, said that he gave Stacey Rambold, 54, a lenient sentence because his relationship with the 14-year-old wasn’t violent.
Baugh said: “Obviously, a 14-year-old can’t consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape. It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.”
Rambold may have not been “violent” with the 14-year-old girl but he definitely did damage. The young woman, Cherice Moralez, committed suicide in 2010 while the case was still at trial.
CNN notes that prosecutors were asking the judge to sentence Rambold to 20-years in prison with 10 years suspended. Baugh went with the defense’s recommendation instead and sentenced Rambold to 15 years with all but 30 days suspended.
The Montana judge is standing by his sentence but he did issue an apology for his comments about how Moralez had “control over the situation.”
Baugh said: “I made some references to the victim’s age and control… I’m not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point, but it didn’t come out correct. What I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in and irrelevant to the sentencing.”
Yahoo News reports that Rambold was arrested in 2008 for raping 14-year-old Moralez. When the young woman committed suicide in 2010 an agreement was reached between the prosecution and Rambold. The prosecution agreed to drop the charges if Rambold admitted to one rape charge and completed a sex offender treatment program.
The case could have ended there but in December 2012 prosecutors discovered that Rambold had been kicked out of the sex offender program for having unsupervised visits with minors. The case was re-opened and the prosecution was hoping that Judge Baugh would impose a strict sentence.
Instead, he got 30 days in jail.
Baugh said: “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… No wonder people are upset. I’d be upset, too, if that happened.”