I continue to be amazed by the headlines I read. I hope when I read the entire story that I somehow misread the headline and misunderstood. But this time I did not misunderstand.
“Former Mont. teacher gets 30 days for student rape” I had to misread this right? This couldn’t be possible. But sadly it was. The judge in this case, District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse without consent, with all but 31 days suspended. What makes no sense was his rationale, he said the victim was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher. He also told the Billings Gazette that a 14-year-old girl can't consent, but this situation was not a "forcible beat-up rape." Wow, I am stunned and in shock and completely disgusted. Tragically, this young girl was 14 at the time of the rape and when she was 16 she killed herself while the case was still pending.
We live in a society where we constantly blame the victim when there is rape or domestic violence. But usually it is pretty clear cut when the victim is a child, until now it has been understood that we don’t blame children for the crimes that happen to them. We have a long way to go in not blaming adults but we have been pretty decent when it comes to not blaming children.
I have to ask: Since when is a 14 year old “as much in control of the situation” with an adult, and a teacher at that¾an adult that has power and control over her, an adult that should know better, an adult that has ethics as part of his profession if not morals as a human being? So it is less of a rape if it wasn’t a “beat up” rape, whatever that means. Children are not responsible for the crimes that happen to them, the adults that perpetrate them are responsible and should be held accountable for them.
This poor girl paid a heavy price for the crime perpetrated against her. She paid with her life. Her mother is still here and still grieving and understandably has lost all faith in the justice system. I understand. I certainly have to wonder what other justice this judge is delivering and how many criminals are walking free because of him and his incompetency. I worry about all of the other young girls in their community and hope that they will not become victims of this former teacher. Unfortunately, according to the article, during his “treatment” he had been ordered to stay away from minors but he violated that order. Now that the case is over, what is his motivation to stay away from minors? He didn’t care during the course of the case why would he care now? I hope the children and their parents in Billings Montana remain ever vigilant.