Montana’s highest court overturned a contentious one-month prison sentence given to a former high-school teacher who was convicted of raping a student, the Wall Street Journal reports. The state Supreme Court yesterday ordered Stacey Rambold to be resentenced by a different judge, and criticized the judge who handled the case for his comments that the 14-year-old victim was in “control” of the situation. Judge G. Todd Baugh. 72, had apologized for the comments and said he would retire this year. The court ruled unanimously that Baugh shouldn’t have exempted Rambold from the state’s mandatory minimum sentence of four years.
Rambold was accused of multiple sexual acts with the student in 2007. He reached a deferred prosecution agreement in 2010 after the victim took her own life. He agreed to complete sex-offender treatment or risk prison time. Rambold, who was 47 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and was sentenced last year after prosecutors said he broke the terms of the deal. In its decision, the high court wrote that the idea that the victim “could have ‘control’ of the situation is directly at odds with the law, which holds that a youth is incapable of consent.” “That statement also disregards the serious power disparity that exists between an adult teacher and his minor pupil,” the court wrote.