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Douchebag Decree: Montana's Victim-Blaming Judge G. Todd Baugh

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This week's Douchebag Decree goes to the judge who coined a new term in the ever-expanding shoulder-shrugging lexicon of "legitimate" rape: "beat-up rape." 

Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh handed down a 30-day sentence to a high-school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student who then committed suicide. At the time of the sentencing, Judge Baugh spoke about the rape as if it wasn't so bad. During the sentencing, he stated that victim Cherise Moralez was "older than her chronological age" and was "as much in control of the situation" as her teacher.  

The judge's comments fit into a long history of blaming young women—especially women of color—for sexual assault, painting them as fast or sexy Lolitas who "know just what they're doing." The comments sparked outrage for obvious reasons, as the victim's mother, Auliea Hanlon, called out the judge for blaming the rape her daughter.

A group of people protesting in Billings

A protest against Judge Baugh's victim-blaming comments in Billings this week. Credit: Billings Gazette

 Protests moved Judge Baugh to apologize in the local Billings Gazette. But in apologizing, he managed to just pile on the problems.

"Obviously, a 14-year-old can't consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape," he said. "It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape."

This language—that the rape wasn't as bad because the victim was not beaten—undermines the apparently hard-to-understand concept that, as President Barack Obama noted, "Rape is rape."

The 30-day sentence is more complicated than it sounds (the teacher was originally sentenced in a 2010 plea deal to a treatment program, then violated the terms of the program) but it's clear that the judge did not take the crime seriously. His sentiments are dismissive and imply that some rapes are more worth proseucting than others. 

Hundreds of people rallied in Billings today and yesterday to protest the Judge's comments, but Hanlon summed up the issue most succinctly as she left the courtroom on the day of the sentencing, saying, "You people suck."

Read other Douchebag Decrees.


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Comments

12 comments have been made. Post a comment.

victim part of the blame?

If someone were walking along the street and came upon a circus tent, they pause and look both ways, and enter the tent. They see a cage in the center of the tent with a lion inside the cage, and they move closer. they look around to see if anyone is nearby, then they open the cage and go inside. Now they are inside the cage with a hungry lion. When they get eaten by the lion I wonder hat kind of thoughts go through their head. Do we blame the lion for being hungry?Do we blame the circus for leaving the tent unattended? Do we blame the victim for having curiosity more than common sense?

An adult man is not a lion. A

An adult man is not a lion. A school is not a lion cage. Are you suggesting that adult men are driven only by their hormones and have no control over their actions? Are you arguing that all men are rapists? Sounds like it. In that case, why not chemically castrate men or lock them all up? (Hint: because adults can think and make decisions, like choosing not to have sex with an underage girl.)

Or, by your logic, the teacher is at fault for becoming a teacher knowing the dangers of a school, and society is negligent for letting men teach underage girls. Are you arguing for full sex segregation in society? Keep men away from the dangers of underage girls?

Congratulations for reproducing the exact same victim-blaming rape culture that the judge subscribes to.

Well said, Carolyn.

You speak my mind. Thank you.

Thank you, Carolyn, for your

Thank you, Carolyn, for your succinct and accurate reply. I entirely agree

PREACH.

PREACH.

To Clarify

(This is the anonymous who is the frustrated activist and sick and tired of this rape culture we are living in) In this case, I indeed understand that the victim committed suicide. Why? For reasons I have explained in my previous comment. Had she received the appropriate justice in her favor, and positive, support, being assured that she did not ask to become a victim of rape, or any crime for that matter, she may have lived with the capability to heal and experience a full life.

Rape

To begin, rape is horrible, period. I think rapists should be raped so they see how it feels to be victimized in such a way.

But the author states that "The judge's comments fit into a long history of blaming young women—especially women of color—for sexual assault".

Pardon me, but give me a break. Stop playing the "whitey is evil" card. When it comes to race and rape, there is hardly a "level" playing field. In 2005, there were 37,460 rapes of white women by black men. In that same year, there were ZERO rapes of black women by white men. Do the research for yourself. Be in denial all you want. When you call black people out on this epidemic of black on white rape, they will claim "These white girls just didn't want to admit they had a black boyfriend, so they cried rape!". Yeah, right, 37,460 women, many of which were battered to a pulp during their torture simply didn't want to admit they had a black boyfriend. Give me strength.

Secondly, I don't see the author, or anyone else in the mainstream media for that matter claiming that underage boys that had sex with their much older teachers could be victims. The media makes it out like these boys were, forgive the pun..."lucky". But boys in these situations could be just as much victimized as girls, but they aren't given the same sympathy. I believe that is unfortunate. I have been with women as an adult that totally broke my heart when they left my life. I couldn't even imagine how a 14 year old in love boy would cope with that. I am sure if you did enough research you would find more than a few boys that eventually killed themselves after being in a relationship with their female teachers. The point is, you would have to search far and wide for such a story....as the mainstream press doesn't make any big deal of it (unlike this case).

I haven't seen much about the facts in this case yet. Just lots of screaming, anger, sensationalism, and emotion. Very little thinking. Did the girl kill herself because she was raped? If so, I am willing to listen, but I haven't seen any evidence of this yet. Was she in a relationship with this guy for months? It sounds like it. I just think there isn't enough information to get so emotional about it yet. If we find out that yeah, she was raped, and yeah, she killed herself as a result, fine, fry the guy.

But one, ask yourself this....how much do you really know about this case, and two, if the teacher was not white, and the victim was white, would you be just as angry and emotional as you are now, or would you be more subdued and reserved? Righteous hypocrisy is powerful stuff.

What are the facts?

To begin, rape is horrible, period. I think rapists should be raped so they see how it feels to be victimized in such a way.

But the author states that "The judge's comments fit into a long history of blaming young women—especially women of color—for sexual assault".

Pardon me, but give me a break. Stop playing the "whitey is evil" card. When it comes to race and rape, there is hardly a "level" playing field. In 2005, there were 37,460 rapes of white women by black men. In that same year, there were ZERO rapes of black women by white men. Do the research for yourself. Be in denial all you want. When you call black people out on this epidemic of black on white rape, they will claim "These white girls just didn't want to admit they had a black boyfriend, so they cried rape!". Yeah, right, 37,460 women, many of which were battered to a pulp during their torture simply didn't want to admit they had a black boyfriend. Give me strength.

Secondly, I don't see the author, or anyone else in the mainstream media for that matter claiming that underage boys that had sex with their much older teachers could be victims. The media makes it out like these boys were, forgive the pun..."lucky". But boys in these situations could be just as much victimized as girls, but they aren't given the same sympathy. I believe that is unfortunate. I have been with women as an adult that totally broke my heart when they left my life. I couldn't even imagine how a 14 year old in love boy would cope with that. I am sure if you did enough research you would find more than a few boys that eventually killed themselves after being in a relationship with their female teachers. The point is, you would have to search far and wide for such a story....as the mainstream press doesn't make any big deal of it (unlike this case).

I haven't seen much about the facts in this case yet. Just lots of screaming, anger, sensationalism, and emotion. Very little thinking. Did the girl kill herself because she was raped? If so, I am willing to listen, but I haven't seen any evidence of this yet. Was she in a relationship with this guy for months? It sounds like it. I just think there isn't enough information to get so emotional about it yet. If we find out that yeah, she was raped, and yeah, she killed herself as a result, fine, fry the guy.

But one, ask yourself this....how much do you really know about this case, and two, if the teacher was not white, and the victim was white, would you be just as angry and emotional as you are now, or would you be more subdued and reserved? Righteous hypocrisy is powerful stuff..

A valid citation is a many-splendoured thing.

I would be absolutely fascinated to see your source material for those numbers of 2005 rapes by race.

I'm also interested - well, mostly appalled, but partially interested - to note that you turned a documented, four-word aside into an excuse for your "OMG BLACK MEN ARE COMING AFTER OUR WOMEN" screed. What a well-adjusted, not-at-all-racist person you must be.

I am correct. You are NOT

Are you moronic? Do some internet searches on interracial rape. If you can show me ONE SINGLE YEAR where more white men raped black women than black men who raped white women, PROVE IT. And don't go back to 1800 for your stats please. Use the last 20 years.

Given the fact that there are many more white men in this country than black men, it should be (statistically speaking) that there are more white on black rapes than there are. But the reverse is the case, there are way more black men raping white women than white men raping black women.

There are way more black men raping white women than white men raping black women.

There are way more black men raping white women than white men raping black women.

There are way more black men raping white women than white men raping black women.

There are way more black men raping white women than white men raping black women. Apparently you need to have things repeated to get the hint.

My point stands. Unless you can prove your case, shut it. All the huffing, puffing, pouting, and ad hominem arguments won't change the fact that you are delusional and in denial. Don't use playground insults and expect that to change reality. The facts speak for themselves....you are just unwilling to listen. The data is out there.....the truth will set you free if you let it.

The victim was underage.

I cannot believe this sentence. If all the punishment they get is 31 days in jail, no wonder they are so many rapes commited throughout a year.

The teacher was an adult and she was underage period. He knew what the consequences were. Meanwhile, she just liked the attention. Come on its not that difficult, that man is sick and took advantage of the situation. My view would be the same even if the case were about a female teacher towards a male student.

Mandatory Minimums

I'm generally against them, but clearly we can't rely on judges to appropriately punish rapists. Why anything matters other than the bare facts that sex was had between a 30 year old and a 14 year old is beyond me. That's inherently statutory rape, so case closed, right?