The case of 47-year-old teacher, Stacy Dean Rambold who was given a 30-day sentence for having sex with his 14-year-old student is back in the spotlight.
Tragically, his victim was unable to cope with the ridicule and bullying that she was experiencing in school over the case and took her own life before the trial began. Without her testimony, the D.A. agreed to a plea deal with Rambold expecting that he would receive the minimum sentence required by state law. That means Rambold would spend two years behind bars instead of the ten years that prosecutors had been seeking.
Judge G. Todd Baugh however took it upon himself to impose a 30 day sentence saying that Cherise “seemed older than her chronological age.”
Rape culture, anyone?
Judge Baugh found himself facing a firestorm of disapproval from the public! Citizens were outraged that a 47-year-old teacher could rape a 14-year-old student and receive what amounted to a slap on the wrist for his crime. This prompted the judge to attempt to back-pedal and he called another hearing to amend the sentence.
“Too late,” said the Montana Supreme Court, ruling that he no longer had legal standing to issue a new sentence. The judge held a ‘hearing’ anyway speaking to an empty courtroom in order to get on the record as having admitted to his error.
It is not over yet. The victim’s family may still see justice done. The Montana Attorney General’s Office has filed an appeal with the Montana Supreme Court, citing the judge’s admission that he had erred–also citing state minimum sentencing guidelines.
“The circumstance of a 47-year-old teacher having sexual intercourse with his 14-year-old student is precisely such a circumstance warranting a mandatory minimum sentence.”
Regardless of the ruling by the Supreme Court it is likely that Judge Baugh will be off the bench within the year as he is up for reelection next year and at this point a very unpopular figure among the people of Montana.