The judge who sentenced teacher Stacey Rambold to just 30 days in jail after the rape and subsequent suicide of 14-year-old student Cherice Morales admits he “deserves to be chastised” for his words during the controversial sentencing.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier, Montana Judge Kenneth Baugh sentenced Rambold lightly and to much outcry this week. But the slap on the wrist sentencing aside, Baugh was castigated for statements he made regarding the girl and her “role” in her own rape during the hearing.
In our earlier post about Baugh’s ruling and remarks, we noted that the judge was quoted as opining that 14-year-old Morales was “older than her chronological age,” adding that the junior high schooler was “as much in control of the situation” as the 54-year-old man he sentenced. The teen took her own life at 17, and her mother says the rape was a trauma from which Cherice never recovered.
Unconfirmed reports on the internet from residents of Billings say Stacey Rambold and not Morales was viewed as the victim after the case went public, and that the girl was shamed and vilified for “seducing” a teacher and “ruining his life” before she was driven to suicide.
The local Billings Gazette reported that before the Morales case, Rambold had been warned not to be alone with or touch female students.
To his partial credit, Judge Baugh fully admits to making horrible statements in court, blaming being flustered for speaking so cavalierly about the victim’s alleged culpability. He began:
“I don’t know what I was thinking or trying to say… It was just stupid and wrong.”
Morales’ mother Auliea Hanlon shouted out “you people suck!” in the courtroom as the light sentence was handed down, saying later in a statement:
“I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14.”
The Billings Gazette received a letter from Baugh after their coverage of the teacher’s short sentence went national, and in it, the judge admits he’s “not sure just what I was attempting to say, but it did not come out correct.”
Judge Baugh added:
“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 Judge Baugh stands by the sentence for Stacey Rambold after Cherice Morales rape and suicide, he also says the reaction to his comments painting her as partially responsible for the rape is “perfectly understandable.” In the wake of the coverage, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition urging Judge Baugh to step down following the remarks.