TIME justice

Montana Judge to Be Censured Over Rape Comments

G. Todd Baugh
Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh reads a statement on Aug. 28, 2013 apologizing for remarks he made about a 14-year-old girl raped by a teacher in Billings, Mont. Matt Brown—AP

The Billings judge said a 14-year-old rape victim was “older than her chronological age”

A Montana judge will be publicly censured and suspended without pay for 31 days for saying a 14-year-old rape victim was “as much in control of the situation” as the 47-year-old teacher who raped her, the state Supreme Court announced Wednesday.

“There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them,” Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote in a court document filed June 4.

State Judge G. Todd Baugh, 72, drew criticism after he suspended all but 30 days of a 15-year sentence handed down to former teacher Stacey Dean Rambold, who was charged in 2008 with raping his 14-year-old student. The student committed suicide in 2010, before Rambold was convicted.

“Judge Baugh’s sentence and rationale, particularly his remarks that the 14-year-old victim was ‘older than her chronological age’ and ‘as much in control of the situation’ as her 47-year-old teacher, sparked immediate public outcry,” Justice McGrath wrote.

Baugh has been ordered to appear before the Supreme Court for public censure July 1. He plans to retire when his current term expires later this year.

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