Montana teacher to serve 30 days in jail for student's rape
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 9:09 p.m.
BILLINGS, Mont. — A former Billings Senior High School teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself has been sentenced to 30 days in jail by a judge who said the victim was “older than her chronological age.”
District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse without consent, with all but 31 days suspended. He gave Rambold credit for one day already served, The Billings Gazette reported.
The girl's mother repeatedly screamed, “You people suck!” and stormed from the courtroom on Monday.
Rambold, now 54, was charged in October 2008 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent alleging that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with Cherice Morales, starting the previous year when she was 14.
Morales committed suicide in February 2010 while the case was pending.
In July 2010, Rambold entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors that said the charges would be dismissed if Rambold completed a sex offender treatment program and met other conditions, including having no contact with children. He admitted one rape charge.
The case was revived in December when prosecutors learned Rambold had been terminated from the sex offender treatment program.
Treatment provider Michael Sullivan said Rambold started missing meetings in August 2012, but Sullivan said he met with Rambold and he appeared to be back on track with his treatment.
Rambold was terminated from the program in November when it was learned that he had been having unsupervised visits with minors, who were family members, and did not inform counselors that he had been having sexual relations with a woman.
Defense attorney Jay Lansing said Rambold has continued his treatment with a different program, and an evaluation found him at low risk to re-offend.
Baugh said he was not convinced that the reasons for Rambold's termination from treatment were serious enough to warrant the 10-year prison term prosecutors recommended.
The judge said he listened to statements given by Morales before her death and believed that while she was a troubled youth, she was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold and was “older than her chronological age.”
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said on Tuesday that he would not appeal the judge's sentence.
“We respect the court's sentencing decision. We obviously disagree with it, based on the recommendations my attorneys made, but it appears to be legally permissible,” he said.
Asked about Baugh's reasoning that a 14-year-old girl below the state's age of consent had an equal share of control of the relationship, Twito declined to answer directly.
“The judge's reasons are his reasons and his reasons alone. He has broad authority under state law, given the proper criteria,” Twito said.
The case resulted in a $91,000 wrongful death settlement between the school district and Morales' family.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Holy grail of guitars’ for sale in April auction
- Spyware in government computers ‘has Russian paw prints all over it’
- California man named as bitcoin creator denies involvement
- Accuser takes stand during court-martial
- Miranda read to sex assault accuser, 14
- Border Patrol ordered to stop shooting at vehicles
- Nuke plant safety improving, watchdog says — with cautions
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- Kansas public school funding unconstitutional
- Deputy accused of illegal stops
- 18-year-old loses suit seeking parents’ support