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Mont. Rapist Released After 30 Days; Appeal Pending

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By Betty Wang, JD on September 26, 2013 11:35 AM

Montana rapist Stacey Rambold was released from prison today after being locked up for only 30 days, the Billings Gazette reports. The ex-high school teacher admitted to raping 14-year-old Cherice Moralez in 2008 when he was her teacher. Moralez committed suicide shortly before her 17th birthday.

Rambold's lenient sentence and the sentencing judge's comments about Moralez created a national uproar and protests.

Going forward, what is likely to happen?

Punishment Not Over

Rambold is not actually entirely a free man, despite having completed his brief jail sentence. He still is going to be on probation for the next 14 years and 11 months, CNN reports.

Probation, in general, refers to the requirement that a convict follow certain court-ordered rules and conditions, often under supervision of a probation officer, in lieu of jail or a prolonged jail sentence.

If the person on probation violates any condition set in his probation, however, he could face anything from a warning to attending a probation violation hearing which could result in more jail time, among other penalties.

Appeal, Complaint Pending

The case is not entirely closed yet, either. Prosecutors are currently attempting to challenge the short sentence that Rambold received, claiming it's illegal. The appeal is still pending, however, and Rambold will remain on probation and out of prison until then, USA Today reports.

Judge Todd Baugh is also facing an onslaught of criticism for implementing the one-month jail term. Also alongside that were his comments that Moralez, the 14-year-old victim, "seemed older than her chronological age" and that she was "as much in control of the situation" as her rapist, CNN reports.

The Montana chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Ultraviolet, another activist group, have filed a complaint with a judicial review board. Accompanying petitions included more than 140,000 signatures supporting Judge Baugh's removal.

Judge Baugh has apologized for his comments, but did not make any indication that he regretted the sentence he handed Rambold.

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