Former Judge G. Todd Baugh. He was censured and suspended by the Montana Supreme Court in 2014 for blaming a 14-year old girl for the rape perpetrated on her by her high school teacher.
He blamed a 14-year-old for her rape. A young woman who died by suicide before the sentence was handed down. And then after blaming the victim, he gave the rapist a 30-day sentence in jail!
These actions occurred in Yellowstone County (Billings), Montana in August 2013. We and the nation were outraged at this victim-blaming, minimization of sexual assault exhibited by this member of the legal hierarchy. As a result, Montana NOW
(National Organization for Women) and Pennsylvania NOW
helped spearhead the call for the censure and suspension of Baugh along with the appropriate re-sentencing of the convicted rapist. We won – see here
for a summary of what happened.
Then a couple of weeks ago we heard about a local bar association’s plan to give Baugh a lifetime achievement award! We are appalled at this disregard for both the victims of sexual assault in general and the appellate court decision in this particular case.
The Yellowstone Area Bar Association association in Montana is HONORING a judge who was literally suspended for letting a rapist off the hook–and blaming the 14-year-old-victim? It’s rape culture at its worst, and if enough of us speak out, we can stop it from happening.
Since we first heard of this plan, lawyers, local activists in Montana, NOW members around the country, over 33,000 UltraViolet members, and the general public asked the Yellowstone Area Bar Association to reverse its decision. And local and national news coverage has been growing (see here and here for samples of local and national news coverage). But despite the backlash, the bar association is sticking to its guns.
So in addition to signing the petitions started by NOW and by UltraViolet, it’s time for us to call the Yellowstone Area Bar Association and demand that Bar Association President Jessica Fehr reverse this despicable decision.
I did. Will you take one minute to call, too? Here’s the link
from UltraViolet to make this call.
Let’s stop this terrible decision before it leaves the gate. And thanks for calling!
Sign seen at a rally in State College PA on a need to end rape culture around the country
On April 24, I posted a blog announcing that the Yellowstone Area Bar Association had announced that they will be giving G. Todd Baugh their annual “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the end of May. I expressed outrage and said that I’d be back with another posting once “we finalize plans on how to deal with this outrageous decision to honor Baugh.”
This is our first step. We have created a MoveOn.org petition calling upon the Yellowstone Bar Association to immediately rescind this award.
Why is this so important?
Non-reporting by sexual assault victims is commonplace in our society. G. Todd Baugh’s victim blaming and rape myths have caused sexual assault victims to further question whether they should report their assault. We need to protect our sexual assault victims.
The Yellowstone Bar Association, as members of the legal profession, need to step up to the plate and make sure that bias in the judiciary does not stop victims from coming forward. Honoring someone who disses and blames victims creates a view that the legal system maintains a “Climate of Indifference” towards victims of sexual assault.
AND THAT’S NOT OK!
That’s why we created and I signed onto a petition to Jessica Fehr, President, Yellowstone Area Bar Association, which says:
Victim blaming and rape myths have no place in our society, especially by the judiciary. G. Todd Baugh engaged in such victim blaming and rape myths and was censured and suspended for these biased acts. We, therefore, call on the Yellowstone Area Bar Association to rescind their Lifetime Achievement Award to G. Todd Baugh.
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
Sign seen at a rally in State College, PA on the need to end rape culture around the country
In August 2013, G. Todd Baugh, then a sitting judge in Yellowstone County, MT, blamed the 14 year-old girl who was raped by her high school teacher for “looking older than her chronological age” when he sentenced the rapist to just 31 days in jail. In 2014, the Montana Supreme Court overthrew that sentence and remanded the case back to a different judge in Yellowstone County who sentenced the rapist to 10 years in prison. And at the same time, the Montana Supreme Court censured and suspended Baugh for his gender bias and failure to follow the sentencing guidelines for child rape. For a summary of what happened in 2013 and 2014, click here.
Now we hear that the Yellowstone Area Bar Association is giving this biased and censured former judge a lifetime achievement award!?
Baugh blamed the rape victim. Now he is scheduled to receive the Bar Association’s lifetime achievement award? This is unconscionable
Read what we know so far.
This article is from the Billings Gazette (the local paper in Yellowstone County, MT): Judge Baugh to receive Yellowstone Bar Association’s lifetime achievement award.
And this article is by Ed Kemmick, the person who broke this story in a local Montana online media blog: ex-judge censured over rape comments to receive award. CBS, NBC and ABC are using this link for their info. This article also goes into a bit more detail on the award, date of the ceremony, and comments from the bar association. the Montana National Organization for Women and JusticeforCherice (the organization that was founded after Baugh blamed Cherice for the rape).
I’ll post more on this once we finalize plans on how to deal with this outrageous decision to honor Baugh.
So spread the word. We will fight this decision — #NoHonor4Baugh.