Unfortunately, cases of inappropriate sexual relationships between teachers and students are all too common within the public school system. Often, the aggressor in such cases receives a punishment many feel is woefully inadequate.
Perhaps no other case reflected that sentiment more disturbingly than when former Montana teacher Stacey Dean Rambold received a mere one month jail sentence after he was convicted of raping a 14-year-old student.
While he was on trial in 2010 for the incident three years prior, his victim committed suicide. The decision of District Judge G. Todd Baugh to impose such a lenient sentence added insult to that injury in the eyes of many in the community and beyond.
Outrageously, Baugh attempted to place some of the blame for the rape on the victim despite the fact that state law stipulates no person under the age of 16 can consent to sexual activity. Although prosecutors asked for a 20-year prison sentence, recommending suspending half of the term, the judge sided with Rambold’s attorney and suspended all but one month of a 15-year sentence.
He stated at the time that the girl was “probably as much in control of the situation as the defendant,” and that she was “older than her chronological age.”
Though he later apologized and conceded the sentence he imposed was improper, he was prohibited from handing down a new punishment. The state Supreme Court, however, recently took over in that pursuit.
According to recent reports, a unanimous decision among the high court’s justices means Rambold will appear before a new judge to receive an updated sentence. That means he will be required to spend at least two years behind bars based on existing sentencing laws, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito explained.
He can thank – or blame – Baugh for the extended prison stay since justices pointed to the outrageous comments he made from the bench as an influence behind their decision to impose re-sentencing.
“Judge Baugh’s statements reflected an improper basis for his decision,” wrote Justice Michael Wheat, “and cast serious doubt on the appearance of justice. There is no basis in the law for the court’s distinction between the victims’ ‘chronological age’ and the court’s perception of her maturity.”
As for Baugh, he maintains his contriteness, explaining he deserves to be reprimanded for his behavior and expressing his plans to retire at the end of his current term.
Photo Credit: YouTube/JVMHLN
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom