She was just 14 when her 49-year-old teacher raped her.  He was subsequently charged with 3 counts of sexual intercourse without consent, a neat phrase that, an antiseptic euphemism for the violent act of rape.  He was first charged and pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.  By all news accounts, the young girl was “troubled.”  What the hell does that mean?  Given the fact that she would eventually commit suicide at 17 and her rapist would be sentenced to only 30 days in jail, one would assume that it means she had little value to society at large and probably got what she asked for.  Or at the very least, according to the Judge in the case, she was “as much in control of the situation” as her rapist and “older than her chronological age.”

An agreement between prosecutors and the defense put the case on hold for three years, stipulating that Dean Rambold complete a sex offender class, at which time the charges would be dismissed.  Yup, dismissed.  Why any judge or prosecutor would agree to a treatment program as a way to avoid a penalty as opposed to being part of a penalty is beyond me, but hey, let’s not forget that she was a troubled young girl.  At 49, one wonders if Mr. Rambold was in any way “troubled”, you know, given the fact that he was banging one of his students.

Rambold was tossed from said offender program for failure to complete the third phase, missing required meetings.  The “not-troubled” Rambold was reinstated into the program but was terminated yet again, this time for having “not-troubling” unsupervised visits with minors and an undisclosed sexual relationship with a woman, who at this writing was not determined to be “troubled.”  But one could make a guess as to what type of woman has a sexual relationship with a child rapist.  I digress.

Apparently the judge was swayed by the defendant’s story of hardship, the loss of his marriage (a non-troubled woman?), the loss of his home and career and the embarrassment of becoming infamous through the “scarlet letter of the internet”, which one assumes means the ridicule and derision he deserves from the general public.  Poor guy, starting to sound a little “troubled.”  Also taken into consideration by our learned jurist is the fact that Rambold had only previously been convicted of a minor traffic violation, ignoring the fact that he was warned by school officials in 2004 to avoid touching or being alone with female students.  Warned about touching female students?  No red flag there fer’ sure…

Weeks before her 17th birthday, the troubled girl who was in control and much older than her chronological age killed herself.

How big a role did the rape play in the troubled teen’s suicide?  We’ll never know of course and Rambold is only charged with the crime of rape.  But as certainly as we cannot hold him accountable for her death in anyway, we should and must hold him accountable for the damage he did to her young psyche, whether she was older than her age or not.  Sentencing him to 30 days, minus one day for timed served does nothing but tell women that we don’t take rape seriously, especially if we also determine you might have been damaged goods to begin with.

Judge G. Todd Baugh needs to hear from his constituents.  Today.  And needs to be gone tomorrow.

Hon. G. Todd Baugh
217 N. 27th Street, Rm. 601
P.O. Box 35042
Billings, MT 59107
256-2922; 256-2970 fax