1220 The Judge
New, from our bulging Outrage File:
A judge in Montana sentenced a high school teacher to 30 days in prison for raping a 14 year old student who later committed suicide.
The teacher is one Stacey Rambold. He is 54 years old. The girl was Cherice Morales, age 16 when she killed herself.
The judge is G. Todd Baugh, 71.
Actually, the sentence was 15 years, with 14 years and eleven months suspended and one day’s credit for time served.
Judge Baugh distinguished himself by noting from the bench that the victim was “older than her chronological age.”
That started a major national hoo-hah of protest and authorities are reexamining the sentence with an eye to appeal.
Let’s get a little closer to this story. First, this wasn’t a mugging rape or a date rape. This was a months’ long “relationship.” Under the law, it’s still rape. Ms. Morales’ mother, Auliea Hanlon says the rape played a major part in the girl’s suicide. That means there were other factors, too -- none of them made public.
Baugh apologized last week as rallies were taking place on the Yellowstone County Courthouse steps. And he said while he hasn’t decided whether to seek re-election in 2014, he rejected calls for his resignation.
The teacher, Rambold, has been in trouble of this kind before. He’d been warned he had to stop touching his female students, went into whatever “rehab” program they have for people like that but was booted because he didn’t show up for class.
Prosecutors weren’t ready to throw away the key. They recommended a 20 year sentence with ten years suspended. Not exactly hard time, let alone long time.
“Older than her chronological age”? Every 14 year old girl is older than her chronological age. And younger. Fourteen is like the “terrible twos.” One minute seductress, the next kindergartener with a cranky streak. One moment tears, the next, laughter. One moment “I HATE you mommy,” the next “I love you mommy.”
But 14 is 14 as one t-shirt at the rally said.
As outrages go, this one doesn’t match many of the current crop. It’s not Syria or Egypt. It’s not the tea party or the rise of other hate and domestic terrorist groups. It’s not the Westboro Baptist Church or stop and frisk “the right people” as the NYPD says. It’s not the cost of medical care. It’s not the unemployment rate. But it’s still outrageous.
As for the judge, he promises a wider and more detailed explanation of the case and his decision. But some people think there’s a genetic explanation. He is the son of Sammy Baugh, whom the Associated Press describes as a “legendary quarterback” for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. That was back in the leather helmet days, the 1930s and then the 40s.
Draw your own conclusions about where the apple from that tree fell.
Best wishes for a happy Labor Day. No thoughts this year that you haven’t heard before, except “Honey, they Shrunk the Union.”
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013