In 2007, Montana teacher Stacey Dean Rambold raped one of his students. The 14-year-old girl killed herself soon afterward. Rambold was tried and sentenced for his misdeeds—to 30 days in jail.
Montana Public Radio’s Edward O’Brien reported in the proceedings:
“District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings (seen in first image) gave Stacey Rambold just 30 days in prison after suggesting the victim also shared responsibility for the 2007 rape…Rambold was a 47-year-old business teacher. The victim was one of his students. The girl committed suicide before the case went to trial.”
District Judge G. Todd Baugh tried to justify the lenient sentence, stating that the victim “seemed older than her chronological age,” which somehow made the rape partially her responsibility. In the wake of the ensuing national outcry, Todd acknowledged that mistakes were made in the case and attempted to change the punishment. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful.
Yesterday, Todd was finally publicly reprimanded for his disproportionately small, victim-blaming sentence.
“Baugh is scheduled to appear before the Montana high court in Helena this afternoon, where he’ll be publicly reprimanded for conduct dishonoring the position and the court’s judicial system.” O’Brien reported.
The Montana Supreme Court described Baugh’s statements throughout the case as having “eroded public confidence in the judiciary,” creating the appearance of impropriety. Baugh did not speak at any point during the reprimand.
Newspaper The Missoulian reports that Baugh plans to retire upon the expiration of his term in December.
Rambold’s actions are unbelievably horrible and his sentence was horribly short. What I’m wondering now is why Baugh’s blatant victim blaming was met with so trivial a response as a bureaucratic slap on the wrist 5 years later. It’s a bigger deal than that.
Images courtesy of billingsgazette.com, npr.org.