The country is in shock over the news that a former Billings Senior High School teacher has been sentenced to 15 years with all but 31 days suspended for raping a 14-year-old girl, according to an Aug. 28 report by MSN.
The former teacher, 54-year-old Stacey Rambold, was charged in October 2008 of three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. He began a relationship with the victim, Cherice Morales, when she was 14 years old.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh stated that he sentenced Rambold to 30 days in jail because the victim was “older than her chronological age” when it came to sexual matters and she was “as much in control of the situation” as the defendant. He also told the Billings Gazette that while a 14-year-old cannot consent, this situation “was not a forcible beat-up rape.”
Cherice Morales committed suicide in February 2010, when she was 16, and five months later, Rambold agreed to a deal with prosecutors. The charges would be dismissed if he completed a sex offender treatment program. He also had to agree to other conditions, such as having no contact with children. Stacey Rambold also admitted to one charge of rape.
Last December prosecutors discovered that the former teacher had been terminated from the sex offender treatment program. Treatment provider Michael Sullivan said that he began missing meetings in August of last year, but when he met with Rambold, he appeared to be back on track with the program. In November he was terminated from the program for having unsupervised visits with minors, who were family members, and failing to notify them that he had been having sex with a woman.
Rambold’s attorney, Jay Lansing said that he is in another treatment program and an evaluation has determined that he is at a low risk to re-offend.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh did not feel that the reasons for his termination from the treatment program were serious enough to sentence him to 10 years in prison, which is what the prosecution recommended.
A $91,000 wrongful death settlement was reached between the school district and the family of Cherice Morales.
Stacey Rambold reached also reached a settlement with Cherice’s family, but the amount is confidential.
The judge recently told the Billings Gazette that his statement was “stupid and wrong,” but people are still angry and protesters are asking for his resignation. Community organizer Sheena Rice says that a petition will be circulated calling for Baugh’s resignation, a Thursday protest outside the courthouse will go on and the judge should have known better than to blame the victim.