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

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.