Target: Yellowstone Area Bar Association President Jessica Fehr
Goal: Do not give Lifetime Achievement Award to judge who was reprimanded for blaming a young girl for her rape.
A judge who gave a man who raped a 14-year-old only a month in jail, a decision for which he was censured by the state Supreme Court, will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yellowstone Area Bar Association. Despite the fact that Judge Todd Baugh tried to let a child rapist off the hook because he thought the victim was “older than her chronological age” and his sentence had to be appealed on the basis that it was illegal, this bar association thinks it’s appropriate to give him a prestigious award.
Judge Baugh’s sentencing of the child rapist was so shocking that many thousands of people called for his resignation and the state Supreme Court formally reprimanded him and suspended him for a month. He blatantly blamed a young teenage girl for being raped because he thought, somehow, that this child had just as much control of the “situation” as her adult teacher.
This was much more than just a “bad call.” A one-month sentence for a child rapist based on gross victim blaming betrays an underlying attitude that women and girls do something to deserve being raped–a widespread cultural attitude that had led to only three percent of all rapists getting even a day of jail time. It also likely contributes to the fact that many rape victims, including, tragically, the victim of this case, commit suicide soon after.
No judge who believes for a second that a 14-year-old could be responsible for her own rape deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award. By signing this petition, you’ll demand that the Yellowstone Area Bar Association reverse their decision to reward Judge Baugh on the basis of his monumental failure to serve justice to a child rapist.
Dear Ms. Fehr,
I understand that your Yellowstone Area Bar Association has chosen Judge Todd Baugh for a Lifetime Achievement Award. This is a terrible choice considering the fact that he was recently censured and suspended after outrage was sparked over his decision to give a child rapist only one month in jail, ignoring the minimum sentencing laws for this crime, on the basis that the victim was somehow to blame for her own rape.
It’s this kind of lack of justice and victim blaming behavior that not only leads to very few convicted rapists seeing a single day of jail time, but to the victims of these horrific crimes committing suicide at a much higher rate than victims of other crimes. You should know that the victim in this case killed herself while the case was pending, which makes Judge Baugh’s sentencing all the more appalling.
No judge who would attempt to give a child rapist only 30 days in jail deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award. Even if this was only one failure, it was a monumental failure which exposes an underlying belief that women and girls who are raped do something to deserve it and sends the same message to anyone following the case.
I demand that you reverse your decision to give Judge Baugh a Lifetime Achievement Award. Give it to someone who doesn’t make excuses to protect child rapists.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Guilherme Yagui via Flickr