I meant to write about the infamous Montana case, but did not get a chance. For those who missed it:
A former Montana high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide will face only 30 days of jail time.
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.
Auliea Hanlon, mother to the victim, testified that her daughter’s relationship with Rambold was a large factor in the teen’s suicide. As the sentence was delivered, Hanlon began to scream “You people suck!” before leaving the courtroom.
That is a total embarrassment, particularly given the victim’s suicide. Sentences are supposed to reflect the nature of the crime, and one would think the girl killing herself would demonstrate the affect the abuse had on her.
However, the judge could not leave it at that:
The judge said victim Morales was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold, according to Time.com. […] Judge Baugh also said victim Morales was “older than her chronological age.”
That is a very old argument used against rape victims. They knew what they wanted, so it really was not that bad. It is also rather common for people to argue that an abused child is older and more mature than their age. The idea is that if the child acts older than they are, we should ignore whether they have the ability given their age to consent to sex.
Both the sentence and the judge’s comments sparked outrage, leading to protests and a call for the judge to resign. The district attorney wants to overturn the sentence and intends to appeal the sentence to a higher court.
While the sentence and the judge’s comments are outrageous, they pale in comparison to the irony they spawned. Cases like this one happen all the time, except the abuser is typically female and the victims typically male. It takes little effort to find them.
More so, it takes no effort to find cases similar to this one. For example, Julie Diane Green raped a 14-year-boy by getting him drunk. The judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail. Jenny Lee Mitchell also raped a 14-year-old boy, and the judge in her case completely suspended her sentence because Mitchell was abused as a child, and stating that she had “been very much a victim.”
This is not to say that the complaints about the Montana case are unfair. I agree that the sentence is absurd given that Rambold violated his parole, which he was on as a result of a prior sex offense. It makes no sense, regardless of how “mature” the victim was, that this man would receive 30 days despite being a repeat offender.
However, none of the people railing against this Montana case rail about women getting light sentences. The scores of feminists tripping over themselves to blast the judge and seek his removal utter not a peep when the victim is a boy or the rapists a woman. One will more likely hear those feminists rail against the undo media coverage of man-bites-dog offenses, with few of them taking the cases seriously.
The Court of Appeal will likely overturn the sentence in the Montana case. The judge may be removed from the case, and possibly from the bench. Rambold will likely receive a longer sentence. Those will be fine outcomes.
Yet, we also need to see another outcome: people taking all slaps on the wrist seriously, not just those that let men who rape girls walk. There are far more cases of women raping and abusing children receiving light sentences and probation. We should be just as outraged by those cases as we are about this one.