BILLINGS - A judge’s conclusion that a 14-year-old Billings rape victim was “as much in control of the situation” as her school-teacher rapist has sparked outrage across the nation.

Organizers have scheduled a Thursday rally and a petition drive against District Judge G. Todd Baugh, who Monday handed down a net sentence of 30 days in jail to former Billings Senior High teacher Stacey Rambold, 54, who raped 14-year-old Cherice Morales.

The sentence came after Rambold, 54, failed to meet sex offender treatment requirements and other conditions that would have ended the now six-year-old case.

Morales killed herself weeks before her 17th birthday as her former sexual relationship with Rambold became a criminal case.

Under state law, children younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse, which makes Rambold’s crime felony rape.

However, issuing the sentence Baugh said Morales not only had equal control of the rape, but was also a troubled youth “older than her chronological age.” The remark sparked public outrage, first from Morales’ mother, Auliea Hanlon, and then from people calling for the judge to at least be censured.

Hanlon left the court screaming “you people suck.” The mother blames Rambold for Morales’ suicide and told the court the former teacher belonged in prison.

On Tuesday, Hanlon said in a written statement that she no longer believes in justice after Baugh’s remarks and sentence order.

“As I looked on in disbelief, Judge Baugh stated that our teenage daughter was as much in control of the situation as her teacher was,” Hanlon said. “She wasn’t even old enough to get a driver’s license. But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age.

“I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14.”

***

Public objection to Baugh’s remarks have prompted a protest planned for 12:15 p.m. Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park, which adjoins the Yellowstone County Courthouse in downtown Billings. The story was recirculated on the Internet and drew comments on the websites of several national news publications.

“Something is not right with our system when a judge can make that kind of decision,” said Marian Bradley of the Montana National Organization for Women. “Unless we show our outrage, none of our children are safe and no one will think of us. I think the judge needs to be reviewed and he needs to be sanctioned.”

Bradley, who has worked with the victims of sexual assault, will circulate a petition calling for the state to investigate Baugh’s sentence, which county prosecutors Tuesday told the Associated Press was within statutory guidelines.

Protest organizer Sheena Rice said the suggestion that any 14-year-old child was on equal footing with a rapist in his 40s, let alone a person of authority, like a schoolteacher, was outrageous.

“What angered me is that the judge said the victim was older than her chronological age,” Rice said. “I don’t care if she wore makeup. I don’t care if she dressed provocatively. She was a 14-year-old and he was in a position of power.”

As a victim of rape, Rice said she thinks it’s strange that the justice system would have mandatory sentences for drug crimes, but that a rape conviction could involve a month in jail.

***

On Tuesday, Baugh stood by his comments that Morales was a troubled youth who was older than her age when it came to sexual matters. That didn’t make Rambold’s sex with Morales any less of a crime, he said.

“Obviously, a 14-year-old can’t consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape,” Baugh said. “It was horrible enough as it is, just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.”

Baugh said Morales’ death complicated the county attorney’s ability to prosecute Rambold. After Morales’ suicide, the prosecution and defense reached an agreement that Rambold would enter sexual offender treatment. If the former teacher completed treatment and complied with other conditions, the case would have been closed.

But Rambold broke terms of the agreement by associating with teens, who were his relatives, and by becoming sexually involved with an adult, but not notifying authorities.

“I think what people are seeing is a sentence for rape of 30 days. Obviously on the face of it, if you look at it that way, it’s crazy,” Baugh said. “No wonder people are upset. I’d be upset, too if that happened.”

(36) comments

redsoxfan5787
redsoxfan5787

Can someone please explain why you all are making this a political argument? It has nothing to do with conservative v liberal. Either you have morals or you don't. My guess is the ones fighting over politics have no morals because you've obviously missed what's really important here.

David Corson
David Corson

I think it's APPALLING that a judge would make the decision that he made. I also think that the state of Montana needs to get off of their butts and show this piece of trash judge THE DOOR!!!! This is another example of what happens when the government or any organization takes GOD out of the picture. This judge is a member of the antichrist and should get the death penalty for making the victim of a rape look like the aggressor!!!! The teacher deserves the same!!!! Better, yet, let's put him on a plane to Syria and drop this piece of trash off there. That way the judge will be present when the bombings start going off!!! This judge is as bad as Assad!!!! I think that letting a teacher off the hook for raping a child is as bad as dropping chemical weapons on innocent people!!!! I'd say let the punishment fit the crime!!!!

Longhorn Fan
Longhorn Fan

Well, the teacher and the judge have one thing in common other than both being male. Their brains are in the same place, and that isn't between their two EARS. They both should keep their pants on and the fly zipped up or they both will lose their brains.

Educated and strongLatinamom
Educated and strongLatinamom

I am so sickened by this.Yes,she was 14.But we have to look at the racial/minority aspect,too.Morales is a Mexican-American last name.Believe me I have seen that look because I am a Mexican American women in the commissioners/doctors/ evaluates eyes because of it.The hate..the jealousy that you are Mexican.Is that why he believes " she was in control"..." Beyond her age"...Yes! Whitey all of us Latina's are little Lolitas..Why are we not seeing her family? I am asking for media to support this mom,embrace her daughters story and get her on air!!!!..It is rare for a Latina to take her life. We just don't do that.( research will back me up on that) So,you know her pain must have been extraordinary...Latina Leaders we need you to come out and yell about this!!!!!

MuTru
MuTru

"I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape,”

Oh, thank goodness this was the nonviolent, peaceful, cuddly kind of rape. I'm so relieved.

K Hungus
K Hungus

This must fall under the 'legitimate rape' statute. The judge either has no daughters or no conscience.

ReturnoftheNative
ReturnoftheNative

Prior sexual activity of a rape victim is not admissible in court, but I see that this "judge" has no compunction about implying that the victim was sexually experienced. Whether or not that was true is something we will never know. Smearing the reputation of a dead child rape victim is beyond indecent. I hope someone in Billings steps up to the plate and runs against Baugh.

Will someone in Yellowstone County please start a write-in campaign?

dsrobins
dsrobins

Billings seems to have more than its fair share of stupid, incompetent and racist judges. There must be something in the water the mix with their whiskey.

lightninsam
lightninsam

I've always heard "the south is gonna rise again"---Mt. the Al. of 40 years ago---

johnny Dollar
johnny Dollar

and we don't?

johnny Dollar
johnny Dollar

Under state law, children younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse, which makes Rambold’s crime felony rape.????

This law would surely confuse Montana youth as no less than half the girls under 16 have had sex and many of them more than one partner.

I personally know of several women that were happily married under or near 16yrs old.......guess they didn't consent either.

The teacher did not kill the girl.....this is a fact.But the living conditions she faced everyday may have. What was her mother like? Married? Several sexual partners? Any abuse in the home?

Lot's of questions.......adn the judge was right there to here them all.

Right.......those with misplaced umbrage don't like to hear it like it is........but there are alot of girls under 16 that are doing everything and anything they want to.......just like big girls do. Bottm line is this.........she was not forced or manipulated into these sexual acts.......it was her choice and the teachers very bad choice.

student4
student4

by what source would you have the information that no less than half of girls under sixteen have had sex and more than one partner? T That you know sixteen years okld that were married under or near sixteen married probably means consent ot marry was given. The student is a student. TO attack the parent and the home life of the student have you worked the

MuTru
MuTru

So, you think a 14 year old can give consent to a 54-year old man, and that as long as you don't kill your victim, rape is OK? The 14th century called ... they want their moral code back.

lightninsam
lightninsam

johnny Dollar -- Now your avatar makes more sense.

".But the living conditions she faced everyday may have. What was her mother like? Married? Several sexual partners? Any abuse in the home?"--You're not real bright.

Pistol
Pistol

Those of you still think Griz athletes aren't punished for crimes? See Donaldson verdict, and sentence. I am not stating Donaldson didn't deserve his sentence. I am saying this sentnence and the one handed down shortly after the Donaldson sentence certainly don't make sense. Maybe the good that will come out of this is more "conservative" judges will be elected or appointed to the bench. As a side note to bad that 88 year old man wasn't packing a gun like Zimmerman. Yes a person can be beaten to death.

Hakon Montag
Hakon Montag

On a side note...but still cognizant of this thread...

I have asked a few 'prominent liberal types' to give me an answer to this question:

What do you think the age of consent should be?

They won't give an answer.

scinerd
scinerd

16 is a reasonable age of consent. Too bad it's irrelevant to the case.
The question you should be asking is "when is it okay for a teacher to have sex with a student?". The answer the school district, the law and anybody with kids will give you is "never". As a teacher, he was trained to know the age of consent, to know that sometimes teens act out sexually, that acting on that is not only illegal, but predatory, and legally defined as both rape and pedophilia. He did it anyway.
He knew it was his job to protect her, and he did the exact opposite. There is no excuse. NONE.

Kahlotus
Kahlotus

I'm curious as to why you think age of consent is a liberal vs conservative issue. What do you think the age of consent should be? I personally would consider a sexual relationship between two 14 year olds completely different than between a 14 year old and a 49 year old.

InisMagrath
InisMagrath

I'm a liberal. I don't know your definition of "prominent" but I'm well known in my community.

The current age of consent in Montana is 16. I'm satisfied with that as an age of consent BUT if the other person is an adult I would place some restrictions on it, For example, if the adult is in a position of trust or power (e.g. teacher, clergy, or Police), then I think that should be a felony. I would also think it may be appropriate to limit the age difference, so if the person is 16 the adult can't be any older than, say, 19 or 20. That would be more restrictive than current law.

So, Hakon, what do you think the age of consent should be?

matthew
matthew

Reasonable people can argue one way or another as to a specific age of consent. Personally, I think Connecticut takes a reasonable approach wherein the age is set at 16, in general, but automatically becomes 18 if one party is in a supervisory role (teacher, coach, private piano instructor) over the other person.
Minors under 16 are deemed able to give consent if there is less than a 3-year difference in age.
To me, it seems like a more nuanced approach which recognizes that folks in their early teens can and do willingly consent to sexual activity all the time, and that the vast majority of that behavior should not be criminalized. However, when there is too great of a differential in age, then we as a society become increasingly concerned that such consent is likely not legitimate -- the product of undue influence, manipulation, persuasion.
It's not perfect, but it's certainly better than many others I've seen, where 18-year-olds get convicted of Stat Rape for engaging in obviously-consensual sex with their 17-year-old boy/girlfriend.

Atheist Educator
Atheist Educator

Hakon, why do you label me a liberal? And why should I answer you when you previously said this to me?

"You either answer it or you're a pompass dirtbag."

MTNimrod
MTNimrod

Are you saying you're NOT a liberal? Really?

And I'm sure HM meant you're a POMPOUS dirtbag.

wes d
wes d

Good thing Rambold didn't get caught with an ounce of weed. He might have done some REAL jail time! Rape? Eh.......

Digital Magic
Digital Magic

“I think what people are seeing is a sentence for rape of 30 days. Obviously on the face of it, if you look at it that way, it’s crazy,” Baugh said. “No wonder people are upset. I’d be upset, too if that happened.”

Yes, erhum....Judge, you're right we think it's crazy. He was sentenced. He didn't fulfill his sentence. He broke the agreements he made to stay out of jail and you just gave him a free pass. I look forward to signing the petitions to have you removed or censured. You have made Montana a great place for rapists to reside, as if we needed help attracting them....

huckleberryhaven
huckleberryhaven

Go to this Link for Nancy Grace: http://www.hlntv.com/shows/nancy-grace and click on "Comment" or "Question" under Feedback to share your discuss over what this Judge has done to our Justice System.

huckleberryhaven
huckleberryhaven

Judge Baugh should be ashamed of himself for making such idiotic and ridiculous comments referring to this case as 'not the forcible beat up type rape'. Rape of a child is just that... It's Rape. Period. I am not a fan of Nancy Grace... but man, I'd love to see her get ahold of this case on her show and see what she and her other panel members have to say about it this sorry excuse of a "Judge".

MT_Mama
MT_Mama

Another old man with schoolgirl fantasies who thinks rape isn't really rape unless the victim is beaten, even if she's a CHILD. The biggest travesty is that this particular old man is a judge! He needs to go. Yesterday, if possible.

MiddleFinger
MiddleFinger

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/justice/montana-teacher-rape-sentence/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

India has nothing on us. Injustice is alive and well under the big sky. Maybe we can be a tourist Mecca for the Taliban. They'll feel right at home in Billings.

Nunner
Nunner

I don't care how promiscuous or flirty or old for their age a child is, they are still a CHILD! It is up to ADULTS to protect them, from other Adults, other Children,and even FROM THEMSELVES. When your 3 year old leans in to kiss you good night and then opens their mouth as if to "grown up kiss" you pull away and say no gently but firmly. REAL Adults understand children act out things they have witnessed. REAL Adults don't blame them for being overtly sexual. REAL Adults Don't allow the kiss to continue, and then BLAME the 3 year old... NEITHER should we blame the 14 year old...14 is still a CHILD... This is why we have age of consent... No matter how much hormones and media are telling them different, children are too young to make that decision ....HE WAS THE ADULT, THE TEACHER, HE WAS THE AUTHORITY FIGURE, HE HAD ALL THE POWER! And he had the power to say NO... He CHOSE not to... And that excuse for a human being judge, Raped her again by denying her and her family justice. He should be removed from the bench immediately...

Everyday person
Everyday person

Our society is breeding and protecting predators -- on many levels from economic predators to political predators to rapists and thugs in the schools (primary and secondary as well as college) and on the streets. Time to rethink.

Pathuron
Pathuron

More proof that white men can do whatever they want and get away with it.

Hakon Montag
Hakon Montag

Well that surely wins for 'sensible comment of the day'...(not)

Dubs
Dubs

what!!!! Oh, I get it, he got off because he is white, what a country--

Sheepdawg
Sheepdawg

This idiot does not deserve the honor to sit on the bench!

Longhorn Fan
Longhorn Fan

Both Judge Baugh and Rambold (I refuse to call him mister) belong in the state cross-bar hotel. Other than that statement I will not comment-- thank goodness I can't be arrested for my opinions of those creatures.

newsmom72
newsmom72

Thank goodness this decision has generated controversy. Apparently the good judge isn't familiar with how quickly (bad) news travels. Baugh's decision could easily be dismissed as yet another indicator on the war against women, but it is much more than that: it is an astonishing disregard for the vulnerability of a young girl and the predatory predilections of a grown man. Although it won't bring their daughter back, I hope the Morales family cleans up in court. And then I hope Baugh is removed from the bench. For shame, Montana; you're too beautiful a state to tolerate such ugly behavior.

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