Judge Baugh Apologizes for Comments at Rape Sentencing - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

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>>

  • Vacations, trips detailed at ex-governor's trial

    Vacations, trips detailed at ex-governor's trial

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:07 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:07:12 GMT
    The assistant to the wealthy businessman at the center of the corruption case against ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has testified about arranging trips for the former first family.
    The former first family of Virginia flew on a chief executive's private jet, vacationed at his lake house and received other perks, such as passes to a Ritz Carlton beach club, the businessman's assistant said...
  • 6 Philadelphia officers charged in corruption case

    6 Philadelphia officers charged in corruption case

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:07 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:07:11 GMT
    Six city narcotics officers used gangland tactics to shake down drug dealers, robbing them of large sums of cash and drugs for years, federal authorities charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
    Six Philadelphia police officers will be jailed until at least Monday amid charges they robbed drug dealers of large sums of money and drugs.
  • Detroit police: Sleeping boy, 8, shot and killed

    Detroit police: Sleeping boy, 8, shot and killed

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:07 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:07:07 GMT
    An 8-year-old boy has died after a bullet fired from outside went through a home's wall and hit the child in bed early Wednesday, Detroit police said.
    Sporadic gunfire isn't an unusual sound in the Brewster Homes public housing complex in Detroit, but booming noises that shook Tenesha Higgins early Wednesday morning were way too close.
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOK: Faces Of WA State's Missing People

    LOOK: Faces Of WA State's Missing People

    Thursday, February 27 2014 11:49 AM EST2014-02-27 16:49:33 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The missing persons listed in this slideshow resided in the state of Washington at the time of their disappearance or may have traveled to Washington State. These pictures came from Washington State Patrol's website. If you have any information about any of these missing people call 1-800-543-5678.
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The missing persons listed in this slideshow resided in the state of Washington at the time of their disappearance or may have traveled to Washington State. These pictures came from Washington State Patrol's website. If you have any information about any of these missing people call 1-800-543-5678.
  • UPDATE: Suspect In Homicide Of Missing Woman Found In Trunk Appears In Court

    UPDATE: Suspect In Homicide Of Missing Woman Found In Trunk Appears In Court

    Monday, April 28 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-28 23:24:32 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - Latanya Clara Chapin, 51, has been identified as the woman who was found dead in the trunk of a car last Friday. Chapin was originally reported missing in March. The man accused of killing her is Juan Sifuentez and he made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. Sifuentez is being charged with 2nd Degree Murder and held on a $750,000 bond.
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - Latanya Clara Chapin, 51, has been identified as the woman who was found dead in the trunk of a car last Friday. Chapin was originally reported missing in March. The man accused of killing her is Juan Sifuentez and he made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. Sifuentez is being charged with 2nd Degree Murder and held on a $750,000 bond.
  • Viewer Submitted Photos

    Viewer Submitted Photos

    Viewer Submitted Photos

    To submit your photos email: pictures@cowlesmontana.com
    Viewer Submitted Photos

    To submit your photos email: pictures@cowlesmontana.com
  • Montana State Prison Receives Accreditation for the Second Time

    Montana State Prison Receives Accreditation for the Second Time

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:20 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:20:16 GMT
    For the second time in Montana state prison's history the infirmary is being recognized as an accredited health care facility.
    For the second time in Montana state prison's history the infirmary is being recognized as an accredited health care facility.
  • 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.
Powered by WorldNow

Sports

  • Sports
  • Community

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