Montana: Convicted rapist Stacey Rambold, convicted of raping a 14-year-old student, leaves jail after one month
A former high school teacher in Montana was released from prison on Thursday after serving just one month for the rape of a 14-year-old student who later killed herself, a corrections department spokeswoman said.
The surprisingly lenient term given Stacey Rambold, 54, for the 2007 rape of Cherice Moralez drew a firestorm of public outrage. The state attorney general has appealed for a longer sentence to the Montana Supreme Court, and several groups are seeking the ouster of District Judge G. Todd Baugh, who handed down the sentence.
The outcry from women's groups was further inflamed by remarks Baugh made during a sentencing hearing. The judge said the teenager seemed older than her years and was "probably as much in control of the situation" as her teacher.
Rambold was released from Montana State Prison at about 10 a.m. local time, said Judy Beck, spokeswoman for the state Corrections Department. He has been registered as a sex offender and must check in with a probation officer in Billings.
Rambold was charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, the Montana equivalent of rape, in 2008. Billings Senior High School, where Moralez was a student in his technology class, suspended him. He later surrendered his teaching certificate.
Moralez killed herself in 2010 before the case could go to trial, crippling a prosecution that hinged on her testimony. In a plea deal, Rambold admitted to a single count of rape, while prosecutors postponed the case and agreed to dismiss it if he completed sex offender treatment.
Prosecutors reinstated the case after Rambold was dismissed from a treatment center for violating its rules. He pleaded guilty to rape in April, and last month Baugh sentenced him to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended.
Judge Baugh has apologized for his remarks about Moralez, but his critics still staged protests outside his offices last month and have called for his removal.