A Montana man is now free after completing a 30-day jail sentence for his rape conviction.
Stacey Rambold, a former teacher, was convicted last month for the 2007 rape of his 14-year-old student, who killed herself in 2010. The case drew national attention after Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh only sentenced Rambold to a one-month prison term.
Baugh defended the 30-day sentence after protesters called for Rambold to be re-sentenced, arguing that the 14-year-old victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold himself. The legal age of consent in Montana is 16.
“I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape. It was horrible enough as it is, just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape,” Baugh said.
Defense lawyer Jay Lansing also argued that his client had been punished enough—losing his job, license, house, and wife because of the crime. According to the AP, Rambold is on probation following his release from jail, and must also register as a sex offender.
Auliea Hanlon, the mother of the victim, told CNN on Thursday that she hopes the Montana Supreme Court, who has stepped into the case, will “make it right.” Justice4Cherice, a group organized by the Montana chapter of the National Organization for Women, recently filed a judicial complaint against Baugh.
State prosecutors are currently appealing the sentence.