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10-year sentence for teacher who served 30 days for rape

Stacey Dean Rambold

AP/Billings Gazette, Paul Ruhter, File

BILLINGS, Mont. - A Montana teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in custody in a student rape case that led to the censure of a judge who partially blamed the victim.

Stacey Dean Rambold was resentenced Friday by Judge Randal Spaulding exactly a year after he completed an initial one-month prison term for the 2007 rape of a freshman at Billings Senior High School.

Five more years included in the sentence were suspended.

Victim Cherice Moralez killed herself in 2010 while the case was pending. Without their primary witness, prosecutors struck a deal with Rambold that initially allowed him to avoid prison altogether.

Rambold, however, violated that agreement by having unauthorized visits with relatives' children and entering into a relationship with an adult woman without telling his counselor. As a result, the case was revived and Rambold pleaded guilty last year to a single count of sexual intercourse without consent.

During the first sentencing, Judge G. Todd Baugh suggested the victim had as much control over her rape as the defendant and said she "appeared older than her chronological age." He gave Rambold a 15-year term with all but one month suspended.

That triggered an appeal from prosecutors and ultimately resulted in the case being re-assigned to state District Judge Randal Spaulding.