Many of you have seen the case of Stacey Rambold, the former high school teacher in Billings, Montana who was given a comical 30-day sentence for raping one of his students. The sentencing judge, G. Todd Baugh, famously claimed that the victim, Cherice Morales, was acting much older than her 14 years. Aztecraingod diaried on this yesterday. However, in perusing the original story, it turns out that as much of a travesty as this "sentence" is, it wasn't the only fail in this case. Not by a longshot.
The story began back in April 2008, when officials at Billings Senior High School learned that Rambold had been having sex with then-14-year-old Cherice Morales. He was placed on paid leave, and resigned in July rather than face all-but-certain termination. He was formally indicted that October. However, a distraught Morales committed suicide in 2010.
Without her testimony, Yellowstone County prosecutors felt like they were in a bind. However, the solution they came up with seems a bad joke to this layman's eyes. They cut a deal with Rambold which called for the charges to be dismissed within three years if he completed a treatment program and complied with other conditions. However, it's obvious something happened in that relationship that shook Morales up badly enough that she took her own life. Given that, were prosecutors so concerned about being able to make their case that they were willing to take the chance of him hurting another child?
As it turned out, Rambold couldn't live up to that agreement. He was kicked out of the treatment program last November for having unsupervised visits with minors (though it later turned out they were relatives) and not telling counselors that he was having a sexual relationship with a woman. Realizing that prosecutors pretty much had him trapped, Rambold pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse with a minor without consent.
Baugh apologized earlier today for his comments about Morales, saying that they were "just stupid and wrong." Well, it sounds to me like Yellowstone County prosecutors need to apologize as well. Even though an evaluation determined he was a low risk to re-offend, it seems to me like they didn't respect the traumatic effect this had on the victim.