Montana Teacher Who Raped Student Free After 31-Day Sentence

Montana Teacher Who Raped Student Free After 31-Day Sentence

The former teacher who admitted raping his 14-year-old student was released from a Montana prison today after serving 30 days of his 31-day sentence. Stacey Rambold received the lenient sentence last month, after a Montana judge said the victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold.

Rambold raped Cherice Morales in 2008, when Morales was a student at Billings Senior High School in Billings, Montana. In 2010, while the case was pending, Morales committed suicide. Morale's mother would later say Rambold's assault was a “major factor” in her daughter's suicide

Yellowstone County District Judge G. Todd Baugh's controversial sentence sparked nationwide outrage. A petition calling for his resignation has been signed by more than 170,000 people, and prosecutors have appealed the sentencing. Baugh would later apologize for his “chronological age” comments, telling NBC News, “I don't know how to pass that off." But Baugh stood by his sentence of 31 days, with one day suspended for time served. Rambold will also be registered as a sex offender and will be on probation until 2028.

[Image via AP]

Prosecutors Appeal "Older than Her Chronological Age" Rape Ruling

Montana state prosecutors are appealing a judge's "illegal" ruling that sentenced a teacher to just 30 days in jail for raping a… Read…

1
13
Pending approvalOriginal post by Taylor Berman on Gawker

Teacher Gets Just 30 Days in Jail for Raping 14-Year-Old Student

Teacher Gets Just 30 Days in Jail for Raping 14-Year-Old Student

A former high school teacher convicted of raping his 14-year-old student, who would commit suicide three years later, will spend just 30 days in jail. Yellowstone County district judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years but suspended all but 31 days, in part because Judge Baugh said the 14-year-old victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold.

Rambold, 54, raped Cherice Morales in 2008, when Morales was his 14-year-old student in at Billings Senior High School in Billings, Montana. In October 2008, prosecutors charged Rambold with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, but the case remained pending for several years. In 2010, when she was 17, Morales killed herself. According to Morales's mother, the relationship with Rambold was a “major factor” in Morales's suicide.

In part because Morales's suicide disrupted their case, the Yellowstone County District Attorney's office reached an agreement with Rambold delaying prosecution for three years. If Rambold completed a sex offender program during that time, charges would be dismissed. As part of that agreement, Rambold admitted to one of the rape charges, knowing that the admission could be used against him.

Last November, Rambold was expelled from his sex offender program after his supervisor learned “he had been having unsupervised visits with minors and had not informed his counselors that he had been having sexual relations with a woman.” Prosecutors reintroduced the case last December, after learning of Rambold's dismissal from the program.

Despite testimony from Morales's mother asking him to “Please put [Rambold] behind bars,” Judge Baugh agreed with Rambold's defense attorneys, who argued that Rambold had suffered enough by losing his job and his wife as well as receiving a “scarlet letter of the internet.”

Prosecutors had sought a 20-year sentence, with 10 years suspended. When the verdict was read aloud, Morales's mother reportedly screamed out “You people suck!” and ran from the courtroom. Rambold was given credit for the one day in jail he'd already served.

[Billings Gazette/Image via]

To contact the author of this post, email taylor@gawker.com

13