Just over a year ago, Judge G. Todd Baugh in Billings, Montana sparked a national outcry when he sentenced a teacher who raped a 14-year-old student to just 31 days in jail, while making comments that blamed the victim for the crime. Today, a new judge in Montana finally handed down a sentence that takes the crime seriously.
This spring, we successfully advocated in the Montana Supreme Court to reverse the original 31-day sentence and to have a new judge assigned to the case. In a separate disciplinary proceedings, the Montana Supreme Court also reprimanded the judge and suspended him from the bench for 31 days. And now, the new judge assigned to the case has sentenced the teacher to 10 years in prison—15 years with five years suspended.
While we are grateful that justice has finally been served in this case, we know it was not an isolated incident. That is why we must continue fighting to end myths about sexual assault and to stop victim blaming practices in our courts, in law enforcement, and in our communities.