Aug 29, 2013 11:28 AM by MTN News - Billings

Billings judge apologizes for remarks about rape victim that sparked outrage

BILLINGS - District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh issued an apology on Wednesday for statements he made about a rape victim during a sentencing hearing on Monday.

"I made some really stupid remarks," Baugh told a group of reporters. "It didn't come out right and I owe the whole county, but maybe even the whole country, especially women, an apology."

On Monday, Baugh presided over the sentencing of former Billings High School teacher Stacey Rambold; Rambold admitted in October 2007 to raping 14-year old Cherice Moralez, who later committed suicide.

Baugh sentenced Rambold to 31 days in jail.

During the sentencing, Baugh said Moralez was "older than her chronological age" and that she had some control of situation with the teacher.

Baugh came under fire for those statements and faces a firestorm of criticism from people in Billings and around the country.

Baugh said on Wednesday, "I'm not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point, but it didn't come out correct. What I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in, and irrelevant to the sentencing. I owe all our fellow citizens an apology."

Baugh also said that he is comfortable with the sentence and was going to put an addendum into the court record to try and explain the sentence.

(Tuesday, August 27, 2013) Community members are calling for a protest - and for District Court Judge Todd Baugh to resign - after former Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold was sentenced to 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year old student who later committed suicide.

Judge Baugh sentenced Rambold on Monday to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended.

Rambold, 54, will also be given credit for one day already served; he was also sentenced to 15 years probation.

Auliea Hanlon, the mother of the teen, is shattered; she said, "Yesterday, I got up, I went to court...I was floored. I thought there was a minimum sentence. I don't know...my faith in the justice system is gone."

Hanlon pleaded with the court to give Rambold the maximum sentence, claiming that Rambold's conduct played a major role in her daughter's suicide.

A silent protest is now scheduled for Thursday at noon on the lawn of the Yellowstone County Courthouse, and a petition calling for Judge Baugh's resignation is now circulating.

Organizers of the silent protest have created a Facebook page which states:

In the ruling the judge claimed that the victim was "older than her chronological age." This is victim shaming at its absolute worst and Billings residents are gathering to show that we will not stand for it.

The online petition has garnered 890 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

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