In Montana, Stacey Dean Rambold, a teacher who was charged with rape of a 14-year-old student by the name of Cherice Moralez who later committed suicide was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
Sentencing judge, G. Todd Baugh stated that Moralez was in “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher, and claimed she acted “older than her chronological age”.
The mother of Moralez, Auliea Hanlon, was clearly outraged when she was interviewed by CNN:
I think this sentence is a joke, a travesty. People will lose faith in our justice system. I have.
She also wrote this statement:
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. 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.
After gaining lots of backlash for his light penalty, the judge offered a defense for his decision:
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.
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.
No wonder people are upset. I’d be upset, too, if that happened.
More on this case below.