Date of Charges, Length of Case: 2008-2013
Abuser/Perpetrator Name: Stacy Rambold
Position: High School Teacher, Billing Senior High
Location: Billings, Montana (Yellowstone County)
Victim: Cherise, Moralez, 14 year old student, who later commits suicide
Also of Concern District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh
Billings, Montana: A 54 year old school teacher, Stacy Rambold, is convicted of 3 counts of raping a 14 year old student and sentenced to only 30 days in jail!
Raping Rambold was charged in 2008 with 3 counts of “sexual intercourse without consent”. The victim, Cherise Moralez, committed suicide in 2010, her mother states Rambold was a “major factor” in why her daughter took her life.
District Judge Todd G. Baugh heard the case and decided that Raping Rambold was only partly responsible for the rape.. and that the victim was also partly at fault! In a decision that has sparked outrage across the country, many are now demanding that Judge Baugh resign after he sentenced Raping Rambold to 15 years in prison then suspended all but 31 days, and gave him 1 day served. That means Raping Rambold will only spend 30 days in jail for raping a minor child, and causing such anguish that his poor girl took her own life.
Baugh defended his ruling stating that the victim a troubled youth who “acted much older than her chronological age” and had as much control of the situation as the teacher who raped her. It is a well known fact that sexual predators target vulnerable victims and may even “groom” the victim to act in ways they would not ordinarily behave. This does not make the victim responsible for the violence inflicted on them–if anything, it shows what a danger the predator truly is.
On August 27th, Baugh defended his ruling to the Billings Gazette that: “Obviously, a 14-year-old can’t consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape. It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.”
The next day, Baugh apologized for his remarks but not the sentence telling the Billings Gazette: “I don’t know what I was thinking or trying to say. It was just stupid and wrong.”
Baugh said in a letter to the editor of the Gazette, “What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing. My apologies to all my fellow citizens.”
Baugh told the Gazette that he would better explain his reasons for the sentence then add it to the court file this week. So let’s get this straight, after Judge Baugh sentenced a convicted rapist, with 3 charges against him, to 30 days in jail, he now has to take a few more days to explain why this is a just sentence, and why this slap on the wrist fits this horrendous crime because we “fellow citizens” just don’t get it ?!?
Baugh’s decision came after Raping Rambold was terminated from a sex offender treatment program that was part of a deal to have his sentence deferred. He was terminated after having unsupervised visits with female minors that are relatives (what is wrong with these parents?!?!) and for not telling counselors that he was having sexual relations with a woman. Judge Baugh said these circumstances are not enough to warrant the 10 year prison term recommended by prosecutors.
Raping Rambold is said to have entered a new program and supposedly is at a low risk to re-offend. But who seriously wants to take the chance, with their own child, that Raping Rambold may strike again? He is a danger to society–rape is not a consensual act, and Rambold abused his power over this child to take advantage of her, and inflicted so much psychological damage that she took her own life. He deserves the full 15 year sentence, not a day less.
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said he did not agree with the ruling but would not appeal.
The victim’s mother Auleia Hanlon, says she no longer believes in justice and that: “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.”
Let us not forget that this child will never attend Prom. She will not graduate and throw her cap to towards the stars, dreaming of the future. She will not be able to drive, go to college or have a family of her own one day.. this despicable act of rape has stolen her innocence, and lead to her taking her life. And now the grieving family has to suffer the greatest injustice of all–that the rapist will not only go free but that Judge Baugh has excused his reprehensible behavior, and somehow made the victim at fault.
A petition has been created to force Baugh to resign: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/resign-judge-g-todd-baugh?source=s.icn.tw&r_by=8646657
If the petition is not enough to get Baugh to step down, supporters are vowing to defeat Baugh in the 2014 polls, when he comes up for re-election.
For More Information:
“Judge Apologizes for Teen Rape Remark, Not Sentence” by John Bacon, USA Today. 8/29/2013. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/28/teacher-rape-montana/2722817/
“Montana Judge Defends 30-Day Sentence for Teacher in Teen Girl’s Rape”, Associated Press (Published by Fox News). 8/29/2013. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/29/montana-judge-defends-30-day-sentence-for-teacher-in-teen-girl-rape/
“Todd Baugh, Mont Judge, Defends Handing Down 30-Day Sentence to Teacher in Rape of a Student” by CBS/AP. 8/28/2013. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57600471-504083/todd-baugh-mont-judge-defends-handing-down-30-day-sentence-to-teacher-in-rape-of-student/
Thanks Kate for this update!
This just in from the Billings Gazette:
“Saying the sentence he imposed on a former Billings teacher for the rape of a student may be illegal, Yellowstone County District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh has ordered a new hearing… Baugh said in the order that the mandatory minimum sentence Rambold should have received appears to be two years, not the 30-day sentence that Baugh ordered on Aug. 26.”
For those of you who have followed this case, I don’t have to tell you how incredible this news is. We hope that this is the first step in the right direction to ensuring justice for Cherice — and a step towards ensuring justice for sexual abuse victims everywhere.
To learn more about how you can become involved with “Justice4Cherice,” please visit us at http://www.facebook.com/justice4cherice
Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
When Sheena Rice, Marian Bradley and I began organizing to protest Judge G. Todd Baugh last week, we never could have imagined the outpouring of support that we received. In the last week, our petition has garnered 45,000 signatures. The protest rally here in Billings was attended by over 500 individuals and was covered by every major news organization in the country. We have received e-mails and phone calls from around the world from individuals who were outraged by this situation and demanded justice.
Click here to join the Justice for Cherice e-mail list: https://sites.google.com/site/justice4cherice/
In light of this support, we have decided to create “Justice4Cherice”, a grassroots movement to stop victim blaming and to stand up for victims of sexual abuse. As we continue to seek justice for Cherice Morales, we also dedicate ourselves to radically changing our community’s dialogue about sexual abuse, in order to ensure that what happened to Cherice does not ever happen here again.
E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Montana’s Attorney General has agreed to appeal Cherice’s case to the state Supreme Court; we are also working to compile official complaints about Judge Baugh’s ruling and his victim blaming language. We will continue to seek justice in Cherice’s case, and we continue to work for Judge Baugh’s resignation, but this is not enough. This movement is not a witch hunt for a single individual: it is a tidal wave of individuals who are no longer willing to stand by and stay silent while victims are made to shoulder the blame for their own abuse. To move forward, we need to take this fight into each and every one of our communities. We need to work together to change the way we talk about rape and sexual abuse, and the way that we educate law enforcement and elected officials about the realities of abuse.
To do this, though, we will continue to need your help. Sheena, Marian and I are simple volunteers who saw a need for change and decided to do something — but we cannot do it without you. It was your letters, your phone calls, your e-mails, and your voices that created the momentum we have seen in the last week. It is our hope that your passion and your willingness to fight will allow us to carry this movement further: into the future of our community and your communities, too. By joining our e-mail list, you will receive regular updates about our fight in the Cherice Morales case, as well as information about how you can stand up to victim blaming.
Thank you again, and again.