Demonstrators gathered outside the office of Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh on Thursday August 29 in protest of the 31-day sentence given to a teacher for raping his 14-year-old student, CNN reports.
Bilings High school teacher 54-year-old Stacy Rambold (male) was convicted of raping Cherice Moralez in 2007. Moralez committed suicide in 2010.
In 2008 Rambold was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, which is the Montana equivalent of rape. On Monday Judge Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison then reduced his sentence to a mere 31 days minus one day served.
To justify his sentencing Baugh said Moralez was "probably as much in control of the situation" as Rambold and that the teen seemed older than her age. On Wednesday the judge apologized for his harsh words.
Co-organizer of the Billings protest, Kate Olp started an online petition demanding Baugh step down. Olp’s involvement in this case is out of fear that Baugh’s comments will discourage rape victims from reporting their abuse due to an unjust legal system.
"He took the responsibility off the shoulders of an adult and placed it on the fragile shoulders of a child," Olp said.
Rambold accepted a plea deal in which he admitted to a single rape charge which would be dismissed in three years upon successful completion of sex offender treatment.
On Monday Rambolds attorney, Jay Lansing, argued at the sentencing hearing that his client lost his job, his marriage, and self-esteem throughout the trial and this suffering was sufficient, according to court records.