2013 seems to be the year of high profile rape cases that end up fizzling out with the rapist getting very little to no punishment, and in some cases (*cough* Steubenville *cough*) even the sympathy of the general public and mainstream media. Well, this trend doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon, because we have another one coming out of Montana.
The case of Cherice Moralez's rape started in 2008, when she was 14. The rapist was her 49-year-old high school teacher. So, why is this in the news now? Because the prompt for the court to look another at Cherice's case after 3 years of pointless bureaucracy was the news of her suicide.
Cherice Moralez's rapist (whose name I refuse to use in this article; if you really want to know who this pervert is, you can look him up yourself) was originally convicted of 3 counts of rape, but not sentenced to any time in prison and instead was forced into a rehabilitation program for sex offenders. He later violated the rules of the program that stated he couldn't be around children by attending a family gathering where children were present and was taken back into court and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Sounds pretty standard. But then the judge, District Judge G. Todd Baugh, decides that he's just going to suspend all but 31 days of this man's sentence plus a one-day credit for spending a day in jail. Because Cherice "seemed older than her chronological age," claiming she was, "as much in control of the situation" as her rapist.
That's a 30-day prison sentence for the rape of a minor. Because she was busty. Ex-fucking-cuse me?
Let's take a look-see at Montana's sex crime laws. Just a little gander, shall we?
"If the victim [of sexual intercourse without consent] is less than 16 years old and the offender is 4 or more years older than the victim or if the offender inflicts bodily injury upon anyone in the course of committing sexual intercourse without consent, the offender shall be punished by life imprisonment or by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of not less than 4 years or more than 100 years and may be fined not more than $50,000."
Huh. That's funny. I seem to see "life imprisonment" as the first suggestion. Not "rehabilitation". Life. Weird.
So, how is it that a 14-year-old student was raped three times by her 49-year-old teacher and the guy's only given THIRTY DAYS IN PRISON? The answer is simple: rape culture.
(not only women/girls are raped; not only men are rapists)
The same rape culture that made the media praise the group of teenage boys who raped an unconscious girl at a party in Steubenville and only got one and three years in juvie even with mountains of evidence stacked up against them.
The same rape culture that made it take almost an entire year for the boys who sexually assaulted and gang raped an unconscious Rehtaeh Parsons in Halifax to be arrested. After her suicide.
The same rape culture that makes it so cops are more likely to believe that a woman is lying about her assault in order to put a man in prison for some superfluous reason than to believe that that man stuck his dick inside her without her consent. The same rape culture that views the victims and the survivors as the instigators of their own assaults. The same rape culture that leaves the majority of rape cases unreported and uninvestigated. The same rape culture that refers to the victims as "the girl" and rockets the names of the rapists to celebrity status.
No. Stop. I am not okay with this and no one else in their right mind should be either. A person who rapes with intent is no longer a person. They are, from that point on, a rapist. An inhuman, disgusting creature whose existence boils down to one event: the moment they ripped away the basic human rights of their victim, violating them in order to satisfy themselves. Period. And anyone who facilitates the freedom of one of these rapists is just as vile and deplorable as the rapists themselves.
Montana citizens are calling for Judge Baugh to resign. Frankly, I don't think resignation is enough. He skirted the law based on his own personal perceptions of the case, not on the evidence. The man should be ashamed of himself beyond the scope of his half-assed apology to Moralez's mother and the enraged protestors. He should face legal repercussions.
If you would like to help remove Judge Baugh from the bench, there is a petition you can sign here.