Montana Court Suspends Judge Who Said High School Freshman Was 'In Control' of Teacher Rape


The Montana judge who drew national condemnation for saying a 14-year-old rape victim was asking for it will be suspended without pay for one month. District Judge Todd Baugh had said in court that the victim—who later killed herself—was just as much to blame as her attacker, whom he sentenced to serve a mere 31 days in jail. 

Her attacker, by the way, was her 47-year-old public school teacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, and he admitted to "sexual intercourse without consent." But to Baugh, the victim was "a troubled youth" who looked "older than her chronological age," and this wasn't the "beat-up rape" variety—which meant the freshman girl entrusted to this man's care "was probably as much in control of the situation" as he was. 

The state's judicial ethics panel filed a complaint against Baugh, asking the Montana Supreme Court to publicly reprimand him. But the court took it a step further: In a decision Wednesday, it ordered Baugh—who is retiring at the end of the year—to be suspended from the bench withiout pay for his last month.

"There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them," it stated.

In April, the court vacated Rambold's original sentence and remanded for resentencing by a new judge. On Tuesday, it denied his request to reconsider the ruling. 

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  1. “There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them,” it stated.

    If I had sex with a teacher at age 14…I would have been responsible.

    It would be sexism for me to automatically consider all 14 year old females deficient in this regard, relative to myself.

    1. If I had sex with a teacher at age 14…I would have been responsible.

      If it had been consensual. It wasn’t in this case.

      1. Non consensual by virtue of age? Because that may be what was meant here.

        1. It was.

          Am I the only one who did the legwork of googling this for 4 minutes?

          1. How do you know it wasn’t also actually nonconsensual? I googled a bit longer than that and have nothing to go on but the mother’s claims that the alleged victim killed herself in part because of the rapes.

            1. Yep. I was definitely trying to find more on whether this was ‘statutory rape’ or otherwise, and it’s pretty unclear (in part because the victim is now dead), but what’s out there seems to imply it was totally non-consensual.

              1. Dude was convicted of “sexual intercourse without consent,” which does apply to any “sexual intercourse with someone less than 16 years of age where the defendant is not the victim’s spouse.” But it seemed like that was in part because that was all they could pin on him once the victim was dead.

        2. That’s possible. I thought I remembered it being more definite that it was non-consensual in previous reportings, but a quick internet search has failed to produce results on that. I guess any thoughts on that are just speculation and we may never know as she is dead and her testimony has been sealed.

          1. I guess any thoughts on that are just speculation and we may never know as she is dead and her testimony has been sealed.

            Pretty much this.

            1. But the judge did get to see that testimony. Did the ethics panel?

              Unless I get evidence otherwise, I’m going to take it the judge was right and the ethics panel wrong?that the ethics panel was sending a collectivist message, while the judge had in mind justice for the individual.

              1. “I’m going to take it the judge was right and the ethics panel wrong.”
                No, you are going to take it that way because you are a dipshit….

    2. You miss the point. the 47 year old teacher knew what was right and what was wrong. By 47 we expect an adult to exhibit self control and responsibility at least when it comes to parenting and teaching. A 14 yr. old may or may not have the skill sets to deal with their impulses. This Teacher should not have been in the position if he could not deal with 14 yr nymphos if that was the case.

  2. So he gets a one-month, no-pay vacation. Yeah, that’ll teach him!

    1. It’ll be a tough month, but then the pension kicks in.

    2. Reminds me of my son when he was suspended from school for turning on a bully and beating the kid up. Who also outweighed him by a good 50 pounds.

      “Okay, so my punishment is I get a week off school? And, I got to beat up someone who had harassed me for a year? Today is a good day!”

      How in the world is a one month suspension his last month of work a punishment?

  3. There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them,” it stated.

    Apparently there is until November 30th.

  4. Does the “sexual intercourse without consent” charge means something like “she wanted to consent but she’s too young at 14 to legally give consent, so it was statutory rape without consent?” Otherwise this seems particularly insane.

  5. There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them,” it stated.

    Is it really a stereotype? I think the consensus opinion is that most rape victims are…victims of a crime.

    1. You can’t get out of rape culture. We are all part of it forever.

      1. That’s what some asshole said in a linked piece from the AM Links. That guilt by association bullshit has just been overplayed. First for reparations and now for creating some “culture” where rape is supposedly expected/accepted by all men? That’s fucking absurd.

        Feminists and beta-male feminist sympathizes are the stupidest people on the planet. There, I said it.

        1. I read Susan Brownmiller’s “groundbreaking” rape book, and even she had to admit that rapists were not exactly representative of the population.

        2. Wait, your name was for “Sloopy in California?” I thought it was a native-Peruvian thing.

          1. Now it sounds dirty.

            Sloopy in vagina.

            1. The wife wanted to move to Bangor so she could start posting under the name “sloopyinme”.

              1. Heh, heh, heh..you said bang her.

              2. Next stop… Tulsa or Mobile?

                1. What you did there…

                  I see it.

        3. Yeah, I’m done with this rape-culture bullshit.

          Rape is rightly a crime and should be punished IAW the law, just like robbery and murder. The notion that all women are somehow victims because they might be raped is completely absurd.

          Am I a victim, with special status, because I might be robbed someday?

          Please…grow up.

        4. Especially the poor ones. There I said it.

    2. I dunno. The “She asked for it by dressing like a slut” crowd is not insignificant.

      1. And it certainly was a stereotype in the past, which is the implication.

      2. Bull. She shouldn’t dress like a slut =/= she was asking for it.

        The number of people that say a woman’s dress justifies a rape is insignificantly small. The number of people that say women should watch how the dress may be large, but there has been a conflation of the two.

        1. I’m not agreeing with what I put in quotes. I’m just saying that a fair number of people do.

          1. I know, and I’m saying bull to them. There aren’t that many people that really think that way. It’s a bullshit leftist media position that claims a lot of people (on the religious right) believe that women are asking for rape by how they dress. It’s just simply not true.

            I’d liken it to jenkem, buttchugging, global warming or vodka-soaked tampons. If they repeat the lie often enough they start to believe it as fact.

            1. All I can speak of is personal experience, and I’ve known many people who subscribed to that view. Maybe not openly, but they thought it. And after a few drinks you might even get them to admit it. It’s more common than you think. The objectification of women is alive and well.

              1. You think they subscribe to it. You’re openly saying you’re mind reading.

                There is a difference between saying she deserves it, and she acted very sluttily, so what does she expect to have happen? I can say a young girl is a fool to walk around acting like a wanton girl and yet not believe for a minute she deserves anything because she did this.

                Same if some young guy walks around like a tough guy, gang banger, and ends up getting beaten up. I’d say the same thing to him. How were you expecting people to respond to you?

      3. I encountered one of these people in my high school English class during my junior year. I think we were discussing Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

        I think I actually called him a raving, backwoods idiot(this was Alabama) and said that a girl should be able to walk around naked and he should be able to control himself.

        My teacher actually said thanks to me after class because I said a lot of things she wanted to but couldn’t because she was the teacher.

        1. What’s not shocking in this entire “debate” is that neither side want’s to admit any fault. Feminists don’t want to admit that dressing provocatively may actually provoke some men. “raving, backwoods idiots” don’t want to admit that some men are just messed up and rape women.

          As always, the truth is in the middle. Women can mitigate their risks by dressing modestly and taking other precautions. However, even if they don’t mitigate their risks, they in no way deserve or consent to rape.

          Like everything else involved in “public discussion,” all rationality and subtlety is lost in translation.

      4. Do you personally know anyone who would say that, or act that way?

    3. She shouldn’t have worn that dress
      Worn that dress

      I know you like what’s on my mind
      I know you want what’s on my mind
      I know it eats you up inside.
      I know
      you know
      you know
      you know….

      1. Now I got that song stuck in my head. Could be a lot worse.

  6. he admitted to “sexual intercourse without consent.”

    Careful, now. If what I have read is correct, Montana* law defines statutory rape as *by definition* non consensual, presumably because a “child” is incapable of comprehending sex. I don’t want to demean the crime, but I think it’s important to distinguish this from a violent attack on an unsuspecting stranger.

    *is this a nationwide thing?

    1. Actually there are women who believe there is no difference between date rape, statutory rape, and violent rape. That all 3 are the exact same crime and deserve the exact same punishment.

      I unfortunately find myself married to one.

  7. Rape is terrible, and Amway has financially raped millions of people: http://www.stoptheamwaytoolscam.wordpress.com

    1. Just like what some mall guards at Ross Park Mall get around on, that’s quite the unexpected segue.

  8. That slap on his wrist won’t even leave a mark.

    1. The tan he’ll start working on the day his “suspension” starts should cover it up nicely.

  9. When I was in high school, one of the girls in my class was banging a student teacher. As far as I am aware, neither suffered any long term debilitating aftereffects.

    1. Sooooo….it wasn’t rape rape then. Cool.

  10. Montana Judicial Ethics Panel – piss on whether or not this idiot’s statement “perpetuates a stereotype”. How about “was made utterly without any factual basis, and apparently influenced his sentencing in this case.”


    Maybe I’m picking nits – I don’t think I am.

    1. I was thinking the same thing! Thank you.

  11. Was it forcible? “Without consent” can just mean “she was a day younger than the age of consent” and says nothing about her actual…consent. That’s how the law works.

    Do your job and find out.

    1. Yeah, good luck with that. I just read a bunch of articles and no one seems to care about a distinction. Might be in the legal records of course, but then again since he wasn’t prosecuted until she was dead, might be unclear even then.

      1. Nitpick: that’s a moral distinction, not a legal one. If the law says this teacher could not have consensual sex with her until a certain date then he willingly placed himself in jeopardy by having a sexual relationship with her prior to that date.

        And unless there were some aggregating factor such as the girl misleading the teacher as to her true age, then this judge had absolutely no right to manufacture aggravating circumstances from whole cloth.

        There are sentencing guidelines. The judge either followed them or he did not. If he did not, he deserves to be removed immediately from the bench.otherwise, the rule of law no longer exists.

        1. Right, legally, even if the judge was just saying “I think statutory rape of a 14 or 15 year old is kind of bullshit, in some circumstances they can give consent,” he’s totally wrong according to Montana law.

          It does affect exactly how far the ole’ outrage meter goes, though.

  12. It is, of course, impossible to know whether it was actually consensual or not from any of the news accounts I’m seeing. Statutory rape is SO HELPFUL THAT WAY.

    1. Read the judicial opinion censuring him:

      “Judge Baugh’s comments in open court in this case disregarded longstanding Montana
      law that a person under the age of 16 is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse.”

      That seems prima facie to be an admission that this was not forcible.

      1. I mean, why say “Hey, she was under 16 so it wasn’t consent via this technicality” if you had the facts to say “Hey, she tried to struggle and kick him in the balls”?

        1. Because those facts are a lot harder to prove than her age.

      2. Why? It still could have been forcible, but they have no reason to attempt to prove it. Especially when the alleged victim is dead and the guy admitted to sex with her.

        1. Right, rather than argue about something that’s harder to prove, age is open and shut here. So this doesn’t prove it. Raises the odds a bit, but it would be nice to know for sure.

        2. I’m fairly sure the penalty for forcible rape is much more severe than that for statutory rape, and you can argue in the alternative. Plus, proving force would be a significant aggravating factor in any case.

          Also, presumption of innocence goes to the defendant. If all the court said is “she wasn’t 16,” then the prima facie inference is that that’s all they had.

          1. Actually, not really. It looks like statutory rape on the basis of age has a higher minimum sentence in Montana than regular old sexual intercourse without consent.

            1. Montana may have gone full retard, then.

          2. I’m not saying I presume his guilt. I’m saying the existence of statutory rape is preventing us from getting authentic information about what may or may not have happened at all beyond the bare fact that these two people had sex. And that sucks.

            And I do think you need to take into account the history of deferred prosecution and her being dead by the time of trial when thinking about what they may or may not have attempted to argue in court.

          3. Age under 16 of victim (and offender 4 years older) is treated exactly the same as an aggravating factor as “offender inflicts bodily injury upon anyone in the course of committing.” Age 12 and under is higher than a first conviction of violent rape. Prior convictions get the highest sentence.

      3. Strongly suggests it, but the censuring opinion could just be using that as the easiest way to prove the point.

        However, parsimony leads us to think that this was, as several of us assumed, a case of 14 year old who consented in her view but not in the view of the law.

        1. I’d say there’s a preponderance of evidence that this wasn’t forcible. Not proven correct but if all I had to go on was this, that is what I would say.

          And, you know, if someone knows more, it’s the censuring court who…didn’t mention that more.

          I’m willing to admit maybe there wasn’t a huge public discussion of the details because she was so young and killed herself, so it’d be dragging her through the mud or whatever. But then we lack the facts to assess whether what happened to this judge, and the guy, was unjust.

          1. We do lack the facts, and no one is particularly interested in looking at them. But that is in large part because the law of Montana is not interested in the facts, which is why the judge is being censured, for not following that law.

          2. How can there be a preponderance of evidence? I mean, I don’t think he held her down, but it could have been forced in other ways. I think the way she reported it to a church elder and committed suicide point away from consensual. Again, it’s all speculation, but I don’t think it’s definitely just statutory in this case.

            1. Not that this changes anything about statutory or not, but let’s note also that she was a student in his class at the time. Even if statutory, this isn’t just an older man sleeping with a teen girl, it is an older man sleeping with a teen girl that he is in a state-sanctioned position of authority over.

  13. The judge is clearly loco/idiotic (or both) for taking a career & reputation destroying kamakazi-dive directly into the botomless sinkhole of gender warz.

  14. Without alt-text, not sure if the picture is the rapist or the judicial rape accomplice.

  15. Was it rape or rape-rape?

    1. That depends on how many prog friends he has.

  16. I still am much more outraged by the judge who was so pissed off by the public defender who refused to follow the judges direction to waive his clients right to a speedy trial that he punched the public defender in the head. Everybody seems to think the judge has an ‘anger management’ issue because he punched the public defender in the head, I think the judge has a ‘not being beaten enough with a big fucking stick’ problem for thinking a judge should be free to waive a defendants right to a speedy trial.

  17. Worth reading the linked decision.

    Moral of the story: if you managed to slid out of under a heavy one once, it is exceedingly foolish to violate parole conditions and as such expose yourself to sentencing on the original crime. No one made an issue out of the original deferred sentencing; it took parole violations to go before the judge again. The judge tried to go easy on the convicted a second time and tried to justify that leniency with some language which he (the judge) should have known to be ‘controversial’ (to put it mildly).

  18. I hate how stories stories like this always bring out the pro rape “legitimate rape” crowd. It’s fucking idiots like you who make Libertarians look like bad, and prevent us from making any political gains in this country.

  19. If the genders had been reversed, people would be agreeing with the judge and talking about how he must have been gay for rejecting the advances.

    1. Stupid double standards justify rape in all circumstances.

  20. Lol, as I was just pointing out in the Bergdahl thread, we have a sizable majority of commenters here at Reason who are opposed to statutory rape laws, yet were fully supportive of the proposition that a grown ass man was too stupid and immature to comprehend the consequences of voluntarily joining the military, because recruiters are sinister villains and such.

    It’s bullshit like this that makes me have to take the occasional break from reading the comments.

  21. I’m against the objectification of women. I prefer the objectification of some photographs of women. Because photographs ARE objects.

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