Across the nation people reacted with shock and outrage last week when former high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, was sentenced to just 30 days in jail for having sex with a 14-year-old student. Just 30 days for raping a minor decades younger than him, who subsequently committed suicide during the criminal investigation. Now -- thankfully -- he actually may serve many more than that.
According to NBC, the judge in the case -- G. Todd Baugh -- backed down and a new sentencing hearing has been ordered for Friday. Whereas Baugh originally and outrageously said that 30 days was plenty for Rambold to serve because the victim was "older than her chronological age," and that she was "in control" as much as he was, he's now changed his tune, saying the original sentencing may have been illegal.
He said he may have misread the law, and he now thinks he should have sentenced Rambold to a minimum of two years in prison. Of course he should have. That was obvious to pretty much everyone but him.
I'm sure his change of heart had something to do with the huge public outcry, and the fact that tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for his resignation. He can deal with own conscience later, but at least Rambold may now have to actually serve a sentence that at least partially reflects the atrociousness of his acts. It won't bring the victim back, but her parents and all young girls really deserve to see him pay for what he did with more than just a flick on the wrist. He may never get what he truly deserves, but everyone deserves to see him serve more than 30 days.
One of the most heartbreaking things I heard while following this case was a quote from the victim's mother. After the original sentencing was handed down, she said, "I don't believe in justice anymore. It was a joke." Hopefully a new sentence will help bring her at least a little peace.
We'll be watching this one closely come Friday.
Are you glad to know that Rambold may have to serve a more substantial sentence for this atrocious crime?
Image via Billings Police Department