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Montana teacher freed after 31-day sentence for rape of student

Former teacher Stacey Rambold freed after serving a controversial 31-day jail sentence for raping a former student.

By KRISTEN BUTLER, UPI.com
Montana teacher freed after 31-day sentence for rape of student

Former high school teacher Stacey Rambold is being released from prison after serving a 31-day sentence for the rape of a 14-year-old student who later killed herself before the case went to trial.

Though Rambold will be on probation for 14 years and 11 months as part of the sentence, Judge G. Todd Baugh was widely criticized for the lenient jail term and the controversial reasons he gave for it.

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Baugh, 71, said in his ruling that the girl "seemed older than her chronological age" and she was "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold. The girl committed suicide just before her 17th birthday, and her mother blames the sexual assault for her death.

Baugh had sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison after the teacher admitted raping the girl, but he suspended all but 31 days of the sentence.

After public outcry, Baugh sought to annul the original sentence, which he said was illegal, and impose the mandatory minimum two-year sentence.

But the Montana Supreme Court blocked Baugh from issuing a new sentence, saying that would be illegal, though the high court did not comment on the legality of the original sentence itself. Rambold's sentence is expected to be appealed, and changed to the two-year minimum.

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Meanwhile, advocacy groups have filed a formal complaint against Judge Baugh and called for his removal. The groups submitted accompanying petitions with more than 140,000 signatures.

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