Judge G. Todd Baugh Apologizes, Calls Statements Regarding Rape Victim ‘Stupid And Wrong’
Judge G. Todd Baugh presided over the case of 54-year-old Stacey Rambold’s (pictured) statutory rape of the then 14-year-old Cherice Moralez. While explaining the lenient 30-day sentence he handed down to Rambold, Baugh made inflammatory comments for which he has finally apologized.
"I’m not sure just what I was attempting to say, but it did not come out correct," he said in a letter to the Billings Gazette. "It was just stupid and wrong." He added, “What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe and irrelevant to the sentencing. My apologies to all my fellow citizens."
When Baugh was giving his rationale for Rambold’s sentencing, he had claimed that Moralez was “older than her chronological age" and had "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold. Not long after he made the remarks, there was a public outcry against the judge. Despite the impassioned backlash, Baugh’s initial reaction was to justify his comments.
"Obviously, a 14-year-old can't consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape," Baugh told the Billings Gazette. "It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape.
"I think what people are seeing is a sentence for rape of 30 days. Obviously on the face of it, if you look at it that way, it's crazy," Baugh added. "No wonder people are upset. I'd be upset, too, if that happened."
After the sentencing verdict was announced by Baugh, Moralez’s surviving mother Auliea Hanlon stormed out of the courtroom, yelling, “You people suck.” Hanlon later released a statement in which she openly shamed the judge for how he ruled, and for how he chose to explain his ruling.
"As I looked on in disbelief, Judge Baugh stated that our teenage daughter was as much in control of the situation as her teacher was," the mother’s statement read. "She wasn't even old enough to get a driver's license. But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age. I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14."
Some are calling for Baugh’s retirement, but it’s uncertain as of yet if the judge will go out quietly or choose to fight for his seat in the 2014 election.
Moralez killed herself days before her 17th birthday in 2010. Her mother has stated that Rambold’s rape of her daughter played a part in her decision to take her own life.
– Chelsea Regan