Skip to main content

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.

Originally posted to House of LIGHTS on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 03:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Trial Watch.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site