In a sentence as perverted as the crime, a Montana court has sent high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold to jail for 30 days after he was found guilty of raping a 14 year old student, who killed herself during the course of the trial.
Stating that the girl was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as the teacher, Judge G. Todd Baugh suspended all but 30 days of a 15 year jail sentence that had been handed down.
In the state of Montana, children under 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse. This makes the teacher’s crime felony rape.
To add more questions to the judge’s baffling decision, Rambold had already been given a chance to evade punishment under a deferred prosecution agreement, but the teacher spectacularly failed to fulfil his obligations.
In July 2010, Rambold entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors that said the charges would be dismissed if Rambold completed a sex offender treatment program and met other conditions, including having no contact with children. He also admitted to one rape charge.
The case was revived last December when prosecutors learned Rambold had been terminated from the sex offender treatment program.
Treatment provider Michael Sullivan said Rambold started missing meetings in August 2012, but Sullivan said he met with Rambold and he appeared to be back on track with his treatment.
Rambold was terminated from the program in November when it was learned that he had been having unsupervised visits with minors, who were family members, and did not inform counselors that he had been having sexual relations with a woman.
Defense attorney Jay Lansing said Rambold has since continued his treatment with a different program and an evaluation found him at low risk to re-offend.
Baugh said he was not convinced that the reasons for Rambold’s termination from treatment were serious enough to warrant the 10-year prison term prosecutors recommended. (source)
The only thing that is clear in this situation is that, for some reason, the court really didn’t want to punish Rambold for his admitted rape of a 14 year old girl.
Judge Baugh, the dispenser of “justice” in this matter, had this condescending tidbit for critics of his decision:
“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.” (source)
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito does not intend to appeal the decision.
The victim’s outraged mother, Hanlon, wrote the following statement:
“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. 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.” (source)
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