Judge Baugh Apologizes for Comments at Rape Sentencing - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Judge Baugh Apologizes for Comments at Rape Sentencing

Posted: Updated:
BILLINGS -

It's created a national call for a Billings judge to step down.

On Monday, Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced a former teacher at senior high school to 31 days in jail for the rape of a 14-year-old.

From New York to Atlanta to Los Angeles, news programs around the country are debating the Yellowstone County District Court judge's decision.

Back in 2007, Stacey Rambold raped a teen student, who later killed herself. After violating terms of the plea deal, Judge Baugh then sentenced Rambold to the jail time. In his decision, the judge also said the victim was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher. This set off a controversy that has the judge apologizing.

On Wednesday, Judge Baugh met with the local media where he apologized for his remarks and said he wanted the public to better understand his decision regarding the Rambold sentence.

The judge initially asked that no recording devices be allowed in his chambers. He said he wanted to do the interview the old fashioned way. The judge started off by saying he made a stupid and dumb mistake. He said his mouth was engaged while his brain was not. He said he couldn't explain why he would suggest the 14-year-old held some responsibility for the rape and was older than her chronological age. He said he deserves to be chastised for what he called his "dumb statements." He called himself a "blithering idiot." Eventually, however, the judge agreed to allow cameras into his chambers and he issued the following statement.

"Ladies and gentlemen in the Rambold sentencing I made some references and control. I'm not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point but it didn't come out correctly. What I said was demeaning to all women not what I believe in and irrelevant to the sentencing. I owe all our fellow citizens an apology. As to the sentence itself, I'll add an addendum to the court file to hopefully better explain the sentence. Thank you," stated Judge Baugh.

As for the sentencing of Rambold, Judge Baugh said when the case was first filed it was recommended that Stacey Rambold be suspended from the classroom and enroll in a sexual offender treatment program.

As the case slowly progressed, the girl who was raped took her own life. Baugh says the state believed without her testimony it would not be able to obtain a conviction.

He says it was recommended Rambold continue in the treatment program.

Baugh, who's been in office since 1985, says Rambold was eventually kicked out of the program for failing to report that he had attended a family reunion in which there were underage nieces and nephews present.

He also failed to tell program administrators that he had sexual relations with several adult women.

Judge Baugh said these were, in his view, minor infractions.

Prior to sentencing, treatment administrators recommended Rambold continue with treatment and said Rambold was at low risk for re-offending.

But, the state recommended Rambold be given a 20-year sentence with ten years suspended.

Instead, Baugh issued a 15-year sentence with all but 31 days suspended.

Baugh noted prosecutors previously agreed to defer prosecution and dismiss the charges if Rambold completed the program.

Baugh says had Rambold completed the treatment without violation, he would have walked away clear of the case.

Now, he says at the end of his 31-day sentence Rambold must register as a sex offender.

The judge is fully aware of the outrage his comments has produced across the country, and he knows people will call for his resignation, but says for now, he plans to stay in office at least until the end of his term next year.

A national petition was started online asking to impeach Judge Baugh.

People from all over the country are adding their name to the list calling for the removal of Judge Baugh.

One person wrote, "this judge needs some sensitivity training after he resigns."

Another person wrote, "we need wisdom on the court."

Yet another says, "the maturity of a 14-year-old and a 49-year-old are not comparable."

Right now more than 17-thousand people have already signed the petition surpassing their goal of 15-thousand signatures. Now, the goal has changed to 20-thousand.

On Thursday, there will be a protest outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse at 12:15 p.m. asking for the judge to resign.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito says as much as he may disagree with Judge Baugh's sentence on Rambold, he cannot repeal the sentence based on that.

Twito says Baugh applied the law that gives him the authority to sentence Rambold.

Twito also says he will review the judge's decision and that the review is routine, something he does for every sentence.

If he finds a legal basis for repeal, he will take appropriate action.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids

    Police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids

    Saturday, July 26 2014 2:02 AM EDT2014-07-26 06:02:47 GMT
    Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit at a Philadelphia street corner, killing three kids and seriously injuring two women.
    Police were searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three kids and critically injuring their mother and the...
  • Ohio State under shadow again, this time with band

    Ohio State under shadow again, this time with band

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:45 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:45:52 GMT
    The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director; a day after he was fired they're performing with the Columbus Symphony in what's often considered the band's unofficial season kickoff.
    Having forced out a beloved football coach and watched its president retire after a series of verbal gaffes, Ohio State University again finds itself grabbing headlines with the firing of a celebrated marching band...
  • Baby dies after being left in hot car in Kansas

    Baby dies after being left in hot car in Kansas

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:56:40 GMT
    Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.
    A 10-month-old Kansas girl died after being strapped for more than two hours inside a sweltering car, and police arrested a foster parent who said he'd forgotten about her until something on TV jogged his memory, an...
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Search Crews Use All Resources As They Try To Recover Kayaker

    Search Crews Use All Resources As They Try To Recover Kayaker

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:54 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:54:32 GMT
    Thursday was day five of the search for a Polson doctor who disappeared while kayaking on Flathead Lake.
    Thursday was day five of the search for a Polson doctor who disappeared while kayaking on Flathead Lake.
  • ABC All-Star: Bailey Deyle

    ABC All-Star: Bailey Deyle

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:34 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:34:26 GMT
    Sentinel senior to be Bailey Deyle and her Montana Avalanche softball team just won the state ASA softball tournament, and have been competing across the country this entire summer. Although it's not just her success on the field that makes her this week's ABC All-Star.
    Sentinel senior to be Bailey Deyle and her Montana Avalanche softball team just won the state ASA softball tournament, and have been competing across the country this entire summer. Although it's not just her success on the field that makes her this week's ABC All-Star.
  • Bozeman Scuba Divers Explore Yellowstone Lake

    Bozeman Scuba Divers Explore Yellowstone Lake

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:38:22 GMT
    Montana is known for its outdoor recreational and adventure sports.There's everything from whitewater kayaking to extreme mountain biking.
    Montana is known for its outdoor recreational and adventure sports.There's everything from whitewater kayaking to extreme mountain biking.
  • The Catalan Secret Camp Comes to Missoula

    The Catalan Secret Camp Comes to Missoula

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:22:53 GMT
    The relationship between Big Sky high school soccer and coaches from Barcelona goes back to 2011, when the Eagles boys team visited Spain.
    The relationship between Big Sky high school soccer and coaches from Barcelona goes back to 2011, when the Eagles boys team visited Spain.
  • Spokane Crew Cleans Up Chemical Spill Near DeBorgia

    Spokane Crew Cleans Up Chemical Spill Near DeBorgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:53:01 GMT
    Mineral county officials call in a team from Spokane to clean up a hazardous chemical spill on I-90.
    Mineral county officials call in a team from Spokane to clean up a hazardous chemical spill on I-90.
  • UPDATE: Search and Rescue Efforts Continue for Flathead Kayaker

    UPDATE: Search and Rescue Efforts Continue for Flathead Kayaker

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:04:28 GMT
    The search for a missing kayaker will continue Monday on Flathead Lake, it's surrounding shores and the Flathead River, after he's been missing for more than 24 hours.
    The search for a missing kayaker will continue Monday on Flathead Lake, it's surrounding shores and the Flathead River, after he's been missing for more than 24 hours.
  • Many Frustrated By Stalled Cobell Settlements

    Many Frustrated By Stalled Cobell Settlements

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-07-17 01:30:30 GMT
    In Congress Wednesday, the group in charge of doling out Cobell settlement claims says it's waiting on setting exact amounts and a judge's okay before making the rest of the payments.
    In Congress Wednesday, the group in charge of doling out Cobell settlement claims says it's waiting on setting exact amounts and a judge's okay before making the rest of the payments.
  • Silver Bow Creek Has Life Again

    Silver Bow Creek Has Life Again

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-07-23 00:52:34 GMT
    For more than 100 years Silver Bow Creek was void of any life. Not only are there signs of life again but the native wildlife are thriving.
    For more than 100 years Silver Bow Creek was void of any life. Not only are there signs of life again but the native wildlife are thriving.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.