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.
The judge said victim Morales was “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold, according to Time.com.
Although Rambold was ordered to complete a sex-offender treatment program to have charges dismissed in 2008 after pleading guilty to rape, he was terminated from the program for missing meetings. Judge Baugh said the ex-teacher’s termination from the program did not warrant a lengthy imprisonment.
Judge Baugh also said victim Morales was “older than her chronological age.”
The same year Rambold was hired as a business teacher for Senior High School in 2004, principal Scott Anderson met with Rambold to discuss allegations that he touched a girl’s thigh and waist. A court affidavit said Anderson told Rambold to “keep his hands off all students” and that anything further would result in a formal investigation, KTVQ reported.
Rambold will have to register as a sex offender.