Judge apologizes for rape victim comments


POSTED: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 9:59am

UPDATED: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 10:03am

A Montana judge is accused of an injustice, the sentence he gave a rapist is considered a slap on the wrist, but the comments he made about the teenage victim are considered by some to be a slap in the face for all women, Miguel Marquez reports.

Outrage is growing over the sentence of Stacey Rambold, Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh handed down to a confessed rapist, just 30 days in jail. Not only is the length of time causing outrage but it's what the judge said when making his ruling.

Judge G. Todd Baugh, Yellowstone County Court, "In the Rambold sentencing, 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."

The sentence for former high school teacher Stacey Rambold for breaking his plea agreement in the 2008 rape of then 14 year-old Cherice Morales. In handing down his sentence, the judge said Morales "Was as in as much control" as her then 49 year-old rapist adding that Morales presented herself as "Older than her chronological age." The judge now under fire for blaming the victim is taking back the words, but he's not changing the sentence.

Judge G. Todd Baugh, "What I said was demeaning to all women. Not what I believe in and irrelevant to the sentencing. I owe all our citizens an apology. As to the sentence itself, I'll add an addendum to the court file that will hopefully better explain the sentence."

Morales took her own life just before trial in 2010, she was just 17 years-old. The prosecution's case fell apart, a plea deal was struck, Ramhold's 15 year sentence suspended; he was put on probation only but Rambold didn't live up to it. Yellowstone County prosecutors wanted him put away for 30 years now, instead Ramhold got 30 days.

Outrage over the sentence taking social media by storm and at least three petitions urging the removal of Judge Baugh are soliciting signatures. This one posted on moveon.org was started by protesters in Billings, Montana.

Hundreds of protesters are expected to gather at Billing's courthouse, they want Judge Baugh to resign and the state's Attorney General to get the ruling reversed.

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