A Montana judge who triggered public outrage after handing down a 30-day sentence to a former high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student, will not seek reelection at the end of 2014.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh, 72, told KTVQ-TV in Billings, Mont., on Monday that he would retire when his fifth six-year term is up at the end of the year, but said it was not related to the rape case. A staff member in his office confirmed to The Times that Baugh would step down.
In August 2013, Baugh sentenced former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison with all but one month suspended. Baugh said the rape victim was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation as was the defendant."
Cherice Moralez, the victim, committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 16, before the case went to trial.
Though the judge apologized for his comments, demonstrators in Billings still called for Bough's resignation.
Representatives from groups including the Montana National Organization for Women and MoveOn.org submitted a complaint against the judge to the state Judicial Standards Commission in Helena in September 2013.
The representatives also delivered petitions with more than 140,000 signatures urging that the judge be removed.
"We consider this a victory! We did not want him to be a judge!" The Montana National Organization for Women posted on its Facebook page Monday evening.
Baugh, who was first elected in 1984, said in an interview with the Associated Press that his decision to retire was unrelated to backlash from the case.
"It doesn't have anything to do with that," he told the AP."If the Rambold thing was the only factor, I wouldn't retire for that," Baugh told KTVQ. "I'm 72 years old, I guess I can retire."