A Yellowstone County district judge Monday ordered a former Senior High teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide to spend 30 days in jail.
Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended, for sexual intercourse without consent.
Rambold pleaded guilty to the single felony charge in April in a case that began in 2008, when school officials and police first learned of the sexual relationship between Rambold and the girl, Cherice Morales.
Rambold was placed on paid leave in April of that year and resigned from his teaching job three months later. He also surrendered his teaching certificate.
In October 2008, prosecutors charged Rambold with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, alleging that the then-49-year-old man had an ongoing sexual relationship with Morales, who was 14 at the time.
While the case was pending, and a few weeks before her 17th birthday, Morales took her own life.
The mother of the deceased teen, Auliea Hanlon, earlier testified that the rapes were “a major factor” in her daughter’s suicide. She pleaded with Baugh to send Rambold to prison for a lengthy term.
Baugh said he listened to recorded statements given by Morales before her death and believes that while she was a troubled youth, she was "as much in control of the situation"
The judge also said Morales was "older than her chronological age."
The case also resulted in a $91,000 wrongful-death settlement between School District 2 and Morales' family, who filed a civil lawsuit against the district.
Rambold had been warned by school officials in 2004 to avoid touching or being alone with female students.