Judge G. Todd Baugh who sentenced rapist teacher to 30 days in prison "not sure"

G. Todd Baugh, the Montana judge who has come under fire for both sentencing a former high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student to only 30 days in prison — and for the comments he made about the victim — wrote a letter of apology to the Billings Gazette Thursday.

Baugh referred to the victim, who at age 16 committed suicide in 2010 before her former teacher's trial began, as "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as Stacey Dean Rambold, the then 49-year-old teacher who raped her. The judge kept his apology short.

You'd like to think a judge who has received so much angry (but thoughtful) criticism would take enough time to reflect and figure out "just what [he] was attempting to say" before authoring a rather thoughtless six sentence apology.

Baugh sentenced Rambold, now 54, to 15 years in prison on one count of sexual intercourse without consent — but then suspended all but 31 days... and gave him credit for one day served. Prosecutors had asked for 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended.

Rambold was originally charged with three felony sexual assault charges, one of which he confessed to. Montana law requires sex offenders to be punished by a term of no less than four years if the victim is less than 16 years old and the offender is four or more years older than the victim.

However, in 2010, Rambold was granted a "deferred prosecution agreement," in which the court would have dropped all charges under the condition that Rambold undergo sex offender treatment and meet other conditions, including having no unsupervised contact with children. Lenient punishment for a man who so horrifically abused his position as an educator, I'd say.

Rambold, however, was terminated from the treatment program for having unsupervised visits with family members who were minors, according to court documents, and prosecutors refiled charges in December.

So, a rapist who can't comply with the seemingly minimal requirements of his sex offender treatment program goes back to court and gets 30 days in jail, because, according to Baugh, he has already lost his house, his wife, his teaching license, and had become the "scarlet letter of the Internet."

A high school teacher rapes his freshman student, his wife shockingly leaves him... and the judge who is supposed to administer justice seems to agree with the teacher's defense lawyer that he has been "punished enough"?

Enough victim-blaming. Children under the age of 16 are not legally allowed to consent to sex in the state of Montana. As dubious and offensive as Baugh's assertions were, it doesn't matter who was in control of who. Baugh's apology makes it clear this is something he does not understand.

Photo: Billings Gazette