BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – A Montana judge is apologizing for saying that a 14-year-old rape victim was “older than her chronological age,” and that she had as much control of the situation as the teacher who raped her.
His remarks prompted protests and a petition for his resignation.
Judge Todd Baugh made the comments Monday while sentencing a former high school teacher, Stacey Rambold, to 30 days in prison. The sentence was actually 15 years, but the judge suspended all but 31 days of it, and gave Rambold credit for a day he had already served.
Faced with a backlash over his comments, and over a sentence that protesters considered too light, the judge wrote an apology in a brief letter to The Billings Gazette.
He wrote, “I’m not sure just what I was attempting to say, but it did not come out correct.” The judge added, “What I said is demeaning of all women, not what I believe, and irrelevant to the sentencing.”
Organizers say a protest scheduled for tomorrow outside the county courthouse will go on, despite the apology.
The 14-year-old victim in the case killed herself when she was 16, while the case was pending.
(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)