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Ex-Montana teacher gets 30 days for rape of student who later killed herself

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A former teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself has been sentenced to 30 days in jail by a Billings, Mont., judge.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, to 15 years in prison for the rape of Cherice Morales, with all but 31 days suspended. He gave Rambold credit for one day already served, The Billings Gazette reported.

The victim's mother, Auliea Hanlon, repeatedly screamed, "You people suck!" and ran out of the courtroom Monday, the Associated Press reported.

"I think this sentence is a joke, a travesty," Ms. Hanlon later told CNN. "People will lose faith in our justice system. I have."

Rambold was charged in October 2008 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, with prosecutors alleging that he had had an ongoing sexual relationship with Morales, starting the previous year when she was 14, the AP reported.

Morales killed herself in February 2010 while the case was pending.

The judge said he listened to the victim's statements before her death and concluded that she was "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold and was "older than her chronological age."

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito told the AP on Tuesday that he would not appeal the judge's sentence.

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