Judge G. Todd Baugh backpedals on Montana rape sentence

Cherice Morales was 14 years old when her schoolteacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, raped her on three separate occasions starting in 2008. She committed suicide at the age of 16 when the rape case went to criminal court.  Credit: Auliea Hanlon / Facebook
Cherice Morales was 14 years old when her schoolteacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, raped her on three separate occasions starting in 2008. She committed suicide at the age of 16 when the rape case went to criminal court.
Credit: Auliea Hanlon/Facebook

Judge G. Todd Baugh of Yellowstone County District in Montana said the sentence he gave a former teacher for the rape of a student may be illegal, according to the Billings Gazette.

Baugh came under fire for sentencing former schoolteacher Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, to just 30 days in jail for the rape of his former student, who later committed suicide.

Now, Baugh appears to be backpedaling. He filed an order Tuesday and set a hearing for Friday afternoon to review his sentence and determine if it should be revised. He said in the order that the mandatory minimum may have been two years instead of 30 days, according to the Gazette. “Imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence,” Baugh wrote in the order.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito told the Gazette that he has been working with the Montana Attorney General’s Office to determine whether to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

Baugh made national headlines after he made comments that the victim “seemed older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control of the situation” as her rapist. These comments fueled protests last week for his resignation.

Baugh later apologized for the comments, saying on KTVQ that his comments were “demeaning to all women” and “irrelevant to the sentencing.” About 400 protesters gathered near the courthouse in Billings last Thursday, calling for Baugh to resign. Over 40,000 people have signed an online petition to remove him from office on MoveOn.org.

Sheena Rice, one of the organizers of the protest and co-founder of grassroots movement Justice 4 Cherice, said she and other activists still want Baugh to resign, even after his admission today. Rice told Metro, “This really does show that his original sentence of 30 days was based on his misconception about rape. It’s pretty evident that he failed to uphold his duty as a judge. I’ve never heard of this happening before – a judge rescheduling a hearing because he acknowledges that he probably did something illegal in the original sentence.”

Rice said she and her colleagues are working with lawyers to file a complaint with the Montana Judicial Standards Commission.

Rambold worked as a teacher at Billings Senior High School, where he taught 14-year-old Cherice Morales and began a sexual relationship with her in 2008; the legal age of sexual consent in Montana is 16. Morales committed suicide at the age of 16 as the case went to criminal court.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.