Stacey Rambold is an ex-teacher from Billings, Montana. He was 49 years old in 2008 when he decided it was perfectly okay to have sexual intercourse with one of his students, 14-year-old Cherice Moralez. Before I give you the details of the case, let me say this. From the research I have done, it appears Stacey Rambold is another example of an adult taking advantage of the children under the care and watch. He should have the book thrown at him, but that’s not what has happened.
Huffington Post – Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, had at least three sexual encounters with student Cherice Morales in 2008. In 2010, the student committed suicide a few weeks before her 17th birthday, The Billings Gazette reported.
Yellowstone County Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years prison, with all but only 31 days suspended for sexual intercourse without consent. The judge then gave Rambold credit for one day served, bringing the offender’s total jail time to just 30 days.
Although Rambold was ordered to complete a sex-offender treatment program to have charges dismissed in 2008 after pleading guilty to rape, he was terminated from the program for missing meetings. Judge Baugh said the ex-teacher’s termination from the program did not warrant a lengthy imprisonment.
Let’s put this story in a nutshell. Stacey Rambold took advantage of Cherice Moralez and used his position of authority to convince her to have sex with him. The girl confided to a youth counselor about what was happening and the police put a stop to the affair. I’m not sure why the case was allowed to drag on for so many years, but in 2010, Cherice Moralez committed suicide. Having lost their main witness, prosecutors in the case decided to make a deal with the defendant. Rambold was supposed to complete a sex-offender treatment program, but was dismissed for missing the meetings and having unsupervised contact with minors. Charges were refiled in December 2012, seeking a 20 year prison term, with 10 years suspended.
Enter Judge G. Todd Baugh. In August, he sentence Stacey Rambold to a 15 year prison term, with all but 31 days suspended. His reasoning on the sentence was that Cherice Moralez acted older than her chronological age and that she seemed to be as much in control of the affair as Rambold. When I first heard this story on the radio, I was shocked. I could not believe that a member of our judicial system could be so callous and uncaring to what has happened to one of our children. He is said to be reconsidering the sentence, but it is not clear if doing so is even legal. State prosecutors are appealing the ruling. Even so, that is not the point.
How did our country move so far down a path that anyone, much less a judge, would consider such a sentence proper to hand down to a rapist. Is our judicial system not supposed to watch out for the people who have been victimized in some way? Is it not supposed to give them recourse against the people who have done them harm? Is it not supposed to provide for a way to provide justice to those who have been harmed?
This is not justice for Cherice Moralez. Instead, it is a slap in the face to her family and an encouragement to other adults who would contemplate the same kind of heinous actions taken by Stacey Rambold. If Judge Baugh can stretch the fabric of justice to such a degree, what is to stop it from happening again. With so many of the cases in our judicial system decided on the precedent of case law, is it beyond the realm of possibility that it could happen again? I say it is not. That is why this sentence should not be allowed to stand. Stacey Rambold should have to pay for what he did and be made an example to any who would follow in his footsteps.