Stacey Dean Rambold, the Montana teacher convicted for the rape of a 14-year-old student who subsequently committed suicide, is being criticized for blaming the victim in documents submitted to the court, according to the Billings Gazette.
Rambold’s case created a firestorm of national outrage after judge District Judge G. Todd Baugh imposed a sentence of only one month, stating that the victim, Cherice Moralez, “appeared older than her chronological age.”
The office of Attorney General Tim Fox, which is currently appealing Rambold’s sentence to the Montana Supreme Court, criticized Rambold for suggesting in arguments submitted by his attorneys that the victim should share in the blame .
“Rambold continues to perpetuate the myth that a 14-year-old girl should bear responsibility for her sexual victimization by a 47-year-old teacher,” Assistant Attorney General Tammy Plubell wrote. “The law, though, rightly defines her as blameless.”
The victim was a student of Rambolds at Billings Senior High School when she was raped. She committed suicide in 2010.
Fighting the appeal, Rambold’s attorneys cited Moralez’s statements given to law enforcement before her death, and suggested that the 14-year-old victim can bear responsibility too.
In a brief submitted to the state’s high court last month, Rambold’s attorneys argued that the original sentence by Judge Baugh was appropriate.
Rambold had initially avoided prosecution under a deferred prosecution agreement that included accepting sex-offender treatment. However, according to court documents, he violated the terms of his agreement by continuing unauthorized visits with relatives’ children and having a sexual relationship with an adult woman. That reopened the case which led to the August sentence from Baugh of 15 years in prison with all but one month suspended.
Rambold was released in September.
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.