A Montana judge who was widely criticized for sentencing a former teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl to 30 days in jail says he plans to retire at the end of the year.
District Judge Todd Baugh denies that his decision to step down after three decades on the bench is related to the public uproar over the case.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with that,” he told the Associated Press.
Judge Baugh found himself in hot water after issuing what many said was a too-lenient sentence in the case of Stacey Rambold, a former business teacher who was convicted of raping a freshman at Billings Senior High School. Baugh also remarked the girl looked “older than her chronological age.”
The 72-year-old judge apologized for his remarks and tried to re-sentence Rambold after prosecutors said that the short prison term Baugh had given the ex-teacher violated state law. Advocates have campaigned to have the Judicial Standards Commission remove Baugh from the bench.
The rape victim’s mother, Auliea Hanlon, said she felt “a little bad” for the judge. “He had 30 years of service and nobody’s going to remember him but for his one incident,” Hanlon said. Hanlon’s daughter killed herself in 2010 before the trial.