Judge Sorry for Comments on Teen Rape Victim

Billings judge said girl, who later committed suicide, was partly to blame
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2013 1:36 PM CDT
Former high school teacher Stacey Rambold.   (Billings Police Department)

(Newser) – A Montana judge has apologized for comments he made about a 14-year-old female rape victim that seemed to take the "blame the victim" approach to a new level. "I don't know what I was thinking or trying to say," Judge G. Todd Baugh tells the Billings Gazette. "It was just stupid and wrong." In ordering a former high school teacher to spend just 30 days in jail for raping a student, Baugh explained on Monday that she was "older than her chronological age" and was "as much in control" as teacher Stacey Rambold. The girl committed suicide with the criminal case pending.

"What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing," Baugh wrote in a letter to the newspaper. "My apologies to all my fellow citizens." He also promised to explain his sentencing decision in more detail. (Baugh had previously said that this wasn't "forcible beat-up rape," notes the Missoulian.) Outrage continues to build over the comments, with a protest outside the courthouse scheduled for tomorrow, reports the AP. Also, MoveOn has an online petition calling for Baugh's resignation. Prosecutors had wanted Rambold to spend 10 years in prison.

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