facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Montana Supreme Court orders new sentencing for teacher convicted of rape

The Montana Supreme Court says a judge erred when he said a teenager sexually assaulted by a teacher had some control in the relationship.
By Frances Burns   |   April 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM   |   Comments

HELENA, Mont., April 30 (UPI) -- A former teacher should spend at least four years behind bars for raping a student who later killed herself, the Montana Supreme Court said Wednesday.

The justices were critical of the judge who gave Stacey Dean Rambold a 15-year sentence -- and then suspended all but 31 days. The court, in an opinion handed down Friday and released Wednesday, said a new judge should be assigned for the re-sentencing.

Judge G. Todd Baugh, when he sentenced Rambold last year, suggested the victim, Cherice Morales, was "older than her chronological age." Morales was a 14-year-old freshman at Billings High School when she had sex with Rambold.

Baugh's finding that the teenager had some control in the relationship "is directly at odds with the law, which holds that a youth is incapable of consent and, therefore, lacks control over the situation whatsoever," the high court said.

"There is no basis in law for the court's distinction between the victim's 'chronological age' and the court's perception of maturity," the justices added.

Baugh's remarks and the short sentence ignited a firestorm of criticism in Montana and across the country. He responded by moving to increase the sentence a few days later but was blocked by the state Supreme Court.

Morales killed herself shortly before her 17th birthday.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Stratosphere crash driver commits suicide Stratosphere crash driver commits suicide
2
U.S. intercepts two Russian fighter jets near Alaska
3
Boko Haram, Nigeria negotiating release of kidnapped girls Boko Haram, Nigeria negotiating release of kidnapped girls
4
Marine detained in Mexico is 'highly despondent' Marine detained in Mexico is 'highly despondent'
5
Police closing in on suspect in Pennsylvania state trooper killing Police closing in on suspect in Pennsylvania state trooper killing
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback