Outrage Builds Over 30-Day Jail Sentence For Teacher Who Raped Student

Outrage Builds Over 30-Day Jail Sentence For Teacher Who Raped StudentHundreds of protesters are expected to converge at the Billings, Montana, county courthouse Thursday, to express their outrage over what they call a lenient sentence for a man who admitted raping a 14-year-old girl.

‘Committed suicide’

The case began in 2008 when the teen was a student at Billings Senior High School and Stacey Dean Rambold was a teacher. She was 14 at the time; he was 49. The mother, Auliea Hanlon, claims Rambold’s “pre-sexual grooming” of her daughter led to the pair having sex.

School officials learned of the relationship, and Rambold resigned. Later that year, authorities charged Rambold with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. As the case wound its way through the legal system, the girl committed suicide. She was a few weeks shy of her 17th birthday. Hanlon told CNN the relationship was to blame for her daughter’s death.

With the teen’s death, the prosecution entered into what is known as a “deferred prosecution agreement” with Rambold. This meant that all charges against Rambold would be dismissed if he completed a sex offender treatment program and met other requirements. But Rambold fell short of the agreement. As a result, the case was revived in December 2012.


‘Troubled young girl’

Yellowstone County District Judge G. Todd Baugh ruled that Rambold’s infractions weren’t serious enough. He sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison. Then, he suspended all but 31 days of the sentence, according to the Yellowstone County District Court. In addition, the judge gave him credit for one day he spent in jail.

“She seemed older than her chronological age,” he said. “Basically what we had was a troubled young girl.” He added, “I simply did not have the evidence to conclude that her taking her life was because of her sexual offense by Mr. Rambold.”

The Montana Organization of Women started a petition calling on the judge to resign.

Do you approve of the 30-day jail sentence for Stacey Dean Rambold? Who is to blame for the suicide of the teen victim?

Source: Paul Vercammen | CNN

Image: Billings Gazette

Chuck Hagel: U.S. Ready To Strike Syria

Chuck Hagel U.S. Ready To Strike SyriaAmerican forces are “ready” to launch strikes on Syria if President Barack Obama chooses to order an attack, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says.

‘Must be held accountable’

The White House said the US would release intelligence on last week’s suspected attack in the next few days. Prime Minister David Cameron said the world could “not stand idly by” after seeing “appalling scenes of death and suffering” caused by suspected chemical weapons attacks.

The crisis follows last Wednesday’s suspected chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus, which reportedly killed more than 300 people.

US Vice President Joe Biden said there was “no doubt who was responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: The Syrian regime”. In a speech to a veterans’ group in Houston, Mr Biden said that “those who use chemical weapons against defenceless men, women, and children… must be held accountable”.


‘Western intervention’

French President Francois Hollande said France was “ready to punish” whoever was behind the attack, and had decided to increase military support for Syria’s main opposition. Meanwhile the Arab League said it held Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the attacks and called for UN action. Syrian opposition sources have said they have been told to expect a Western intervention in the conflict imminently.

Russia and China, allies of the Syrian government, have stepped up their warnings against military intervention, with Moscow saying any such action would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he rejects “utterly and completely” claims that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, and his government has blamed rebel fighters.

Do you believe the Syrian regime itself is responsible for the said chemical attacks that killed over 300 citizens? Do we see a war with western countries looming over Syria?

Source: BBC News

Image: 23 ABC