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Ex-teacher gets 30 days in jail for raping teen student

By John Sevigny     Aug 28, 2013 in Crime
Billings - A former Montana teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student who later committed suicide was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The unusually lenient sentence for a felony charge, along with comments made by sentencing Judge G. Todd Baugh, sparked outrage and calls for Baugh's resignation.
In explaining the sentence Baugh said the victim "seemed older than her chronological age," and was "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher, CNN reported Wednesday.
The teacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, from Billings, was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent. Prosecutors were prepared to dismiss the charges if Rambold completed a sex-offender treatment program.
He agreed and entered the program but was kicked out after it was learned he had been having unsupervised visits with minors, MSN reported.
That's when prosecutors revived the case, which was complicated by the fact that the victim had taken her own life in 2010. The victim's family said her suicide was related to the rape.
The teen's mother said Rambold's sentence was "a travesty."
"People will lose faith in our justice system," Auliea Hanlon told CNN. "I have."
Rambold, who is 54 now, was originally charged with three counts of sexual intercourse in 2008, a string of crimes that began when the victim was 14.
In a written statement to the Billings Gazette, Auliea Hanlon slammed the judge for his comments and the lenient sentence he handed down.
“As I looked on in disbelief, Judge Baugh stated that our teenage daughter was as much in control of the situation as her teacher was,” Hanlon said. “She wasn’t even old enough to get a driver’s license. But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age. I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14.”
Judge Baugh stood by his sentencing decision, even as Billings residents organized demonstrations and petition drives calling for his resignation, the Gazette reported.
“Obviously, a 14-year-old can’t consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape,” Baugh said. “It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.”
On Wednesday, the Gazette reported that Judge Baugh had apologized for his remarks.
"I don't know what I was thinking or trying to say," Baugh told The Billings Gazette. "It was just stupid and wrong."
More about Rape, Child abuse, Child sexual abuse, Sex abuse teachers, Montana
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