Montana District judge G. Todd Baugh faces criticism for sentencing a 54-year-old former teacher, Stacey Rambold, to only 30 days in jail for repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl. Rambold was first charged in 2008 when the victim, one of his students, told a church counselor she had been sexually assaulted. She committed suicide in 2010 as the case was proceeding in court.
The judge's original remarks blamed the girl for the rape, saying she was just "as much in control of the situation" as her teacher and that she was a troubled youth "older than her chronological age." The judge later apologized for his remarks, but he stands by the sentencing decision he made on August 26 of this year.
Almost 30,000 people have already signed a petition on MoveOn.org calling for Baugh to resign. "Something is not right with our system when a judge can make that kind of decision," Marian Bradly of the Montana National Organization for Women said.
After his 30-day term, Rambold must register as a sex offender, and he will be on supervised probation for 15 years.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 8/28/2013; Washington Post 8/28/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .