A Montana teacher who raped his 14-year-old student will be released from jail on Thursday, ending a meager 31-day sentence for a crime that the victim’s family says led her to kill herself.
Last month, the story of how 49-year-old Stacey Rambold raped the girl grabbed national headlines. Much of the outrage stemmed from the fact that the judge in the case, State District Judge G. Todd Baugh, used victim-blaming language in an interview, seemingly making light of the charge of rape. The girl was acting “older than her chronological age,” Judge Baugh said, and was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold.
The rape happened back in 2007, and Rambold reached an agreement with the court that he would serve no jail term if he stuck to the guidelines of his parole. But then, Rambold violated those guidelines, leading prosecutors to suggest a 20 year sentence. Judge Baugh technically did sentence him to 15 years — technically. But he then suspended all but 30 days of that sentence, saying that his infraction was too minor to warrant any more time than that.
The girl’s mother cited “severe emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment” after the rape as the cause for the girl’s suicide. She “fell into irreversible depression that tragically led to her taking her own life on February 6, 2010,” her mother said. She told the Associated Press that now, six years after the assault, Rambold is “still skating” justice.