A former high school teacher will spend just 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old in part because the girl’s suicide made it difficult to prosecute his case, The Billings Gazette reports.
The 30-day jail sentence for Stacey Rambold sparked outrage from the rape victim’s mother and the general public — especially after a judge said the victim was “in control of the situation” with the former Billings, Mont. teacher.
Rambold was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse back in 2008, but his victim killed herself while the criminal case was still pending, the Gazette reports. Faced with a difficult case, prosecutors offered Rambold a “deferred prosecution agreement.”
As part of that deal, the Yellowstone County Attorney agreed not to prosecute Rambold if he admitted to a rape charge, entered into a sex offender treatment program, and agreed not to be alone with minors. Prosecutors recently refiled the charges after they learned that he wasn’t in the sex offender program anymore.
Rambold then pleaded guilty to rape, and prosecutors wanted him put behind bars for 10 years. However, Judge Todd Baugh ruled this week that Rambold’s failure to keep attending the treatment program was the equivalent of a “probation violation” that didn’t justify an extended prison sentence.
Judge Baugh also made some extremely offensive comments, including saying that the victim was “older than her chronological age.”A MoveOn.org petition is calling for him to resign for his “victim shaming.”
He apologized for those comments on Wednesday.
“What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing,” Judge Baugh said in the letter to the Gazette. “My apologies to all my fellow citizens.”
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