Judge under fire for 30-day sentence in teacher rape case - KMOV.com

Judge under fire for 30-day sentence in teacher rape case

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By Belo Content KMOV By Belo Content KMOV

(CBS) BILLINGS, Montana - A Montana judge who sentenced a former teacher to 30 days in the rape case of a 14-year-old student has ordered a new hearing to determine whether the sentence should be revised, the Billings Gazette reports.

The girl killed herself in 2010 at age 16 as the case was pending, and her mother told District Judge G. Todd Baugh her relationship with the teacher was a "major factor" in her suicide.

Baugh drew national outrage when he sentenced the former teacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, Aug. 26, and commented that the teenage victim was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold, who admitted to raping the girl.

Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years with all but 31 days suspended, and gave the former teacher credit for one day served. The judge later apologized for his comments at sentencing. More than 400 called for Baugh's resignation during a protest last week, and an online petition for him to step down has drawn more than 45,000 signatures.

"My faith in the justice system is gone," the victim's mother, Auliea Hanlon, tearfully told CBS affiliate KTVQ following the sentence.

Baugh handed down the sentence after former Billings Senior High School teacher Rambold, 54, was terminated from a sexual offender treatment program that was part of a deal to have his prosecution deferred. The judge said he wasn't convinced that the reasons for Rambold's termination from the program were serious enough to warrant a 10-year prison term recommended by prosecutors. If the former teacher completed treatment and complied with other conditions, the case would have been closed.

Baugh has set a new hearing for 1:30 p.m. Friday, saying the sentence he imposed may be illegal, the paper reports, citing a court order. Baugh said in the filing the mandatory minimum sentence appears to be two years, not 30 days, reports the Gazette.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito, who has been consulting with the Montana Attorney General's Office to determine whether to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court, told the paper Baugh's newly announced order was an "unusual occurrence."

Complete coverage of the Montana rape case on Crimesider


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