CREDIT: Matt Brown / AP
The Montana judge who called a 14-year-old rape victim “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control” of the situation as her rapist has admitted that he deserves to be censured for violating his ethics code. Judge G. Todd Baugh gave that convicted rapist — who had been the girl’s teacher — 31 days in jail, suspending what could have been a 15-year prison sentence.
“I shouldn’t have said that … I don’t contest that appearance of impropriety,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to be removed.”
Despite admitting that he inappropriately blamed the victim, Baugh still stands by the sentence, calling it “fair, imposed impartially and without bias or prejudice.”
“I am sorry I made those remarks,” he wrote in a document obtained by CNN. “They focused on the victim when that aspect of the case should have been focused on the defendant.” Six years after the incident, the rape victim’s mother said that 49-year-old Stacey Rambold caused her daughter’s “irreversible depression” and eventual suicide, while the former school teacher has already finished his month-long sentence.
Since the decision, Baugh has been in damage control to fend off calls for his resignation. His latest admission comes as the Montana Supreme Court is likely to censure him.
And yet the case in Montana was far from unusual. A convicted rapist in Alabama received similarly light treatment.