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Reuters, Published January 07 2014

Montana judge blasted for lenient rape sentence to retire, administrator says

A Montana judge who came under fire for sentencing a former teacher to a month in prison for raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself is set to retire at the end of this year, a court administrator said on Tuesday.

Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh, whose current term expires at the end of 2014, has decided not to file for re-election, according to Becky Bird, district court administrator in Billings.

The administrator did not give a reason for Baugh's decision, and the judge's assistant said he declined comment.

Baugh, 72, sparked a firestorm of public outrage last year by imposing a sentence of only 30 days on former Billings high school teacher Stacey Rambold, 54, for the 2007 rape of Cherice Moralez.

The outcry from women's groups was further inflamed by remarks Baugh made during a sentencing hearing in which he said the teenager seemed older than her years and was "probably as much in control of the situation" as her teacher.

The state attorney general has appealed for a longer sentence to the Montana Supreme Court, and several groups have sought the Baugh's ouster. The judge has admitted he violated judicial codes by suggesting the girl was partly to blame for the rape, but has denied any bias against the victim.