BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A former Montana high school teacher registered as a sex offender and checked in with his probation officer during his first day of freedom after completing a 30-day sentence for raping a 14-year-old girl.
Stacey Rambold, 54, was picked up at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge by a family member Thursday, even as the state Supreme Court reviewed the sentence and critics called for the removal of the judge who handled his case.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh drew outrage last month over the sentence's leniency and comments he made that appeared to pin some of the blame on the victim, Cherice Moralez.
The teen committed suicide in 2010 before Rambold went to trial.
Rambold made no public comments when he was seen later Thursday reporting to a state probation office back home in Billings.
He's been registered as a level 1 sex offender — meaning he's considered a low risk to re-offend— and will remain on probation through 2028 unless the original sentence is overruled.
State prosecutors say Rambold should have received a minimum of two years. But barring new offenses, the former teacher has served his time and will stay out of prison pending the appeal.
Moralez's mother, Auliea Hanlon, said Rambold's release shows he is "still skating" justice six years after he assaulted her daughter.
"I figured he'd be fired, go to jail, and she would be vindicated, and that would be the end of it," Hanlon said. "Instead, here it is six years later, still going on."