BILLINGS, Mont. – A Montana judge on Wednesday stood by his decision to send a former teacher to prison for 30 days for raping a 14-year-old girl who later killed herself, but said he “deserved to be chastised” for his comments about the young victim.
District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold to 15 years, then suspended all but 31 days and gave him credit for one day already served.
In handing down the sentence Monday, Baugh said the teenage victim was “older than her chronological age” and had as much control of the situation as the teacher who raped her.
Faced with a backlash over the comments and calls for his resignation, Baugh, 71, wrote an apology in a letter to the editor of The Billings Gazette.
He said his comments were demeaning of all women and not reflective of his beliefs.
At least 80 killed in blasts near Baghdad
Car bomb blasts and other explosions tore through mainly Shiite districts around Baghdad during morning rush hour Wednesday in a day of violence that killed at least 80, intensifying worries about Iraq’s ability to tame the spiraling mayhem that is gripping the country.
A relentless wave of killing has left thousands dead since April in the country’s worst spate of bloodshed since 2008.
The surge in violence raises fears that Iraq is hurtling back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when the country was teetering on the edge of civil war.
Drone gives firefighters better view in Yosemite
Firefighters battling the giant wildfire burning in the Sierra Nevada added a California National Guard Predator drone to their arsenal Wednesday to give them almost immediate views of any portion of the flames chewing through rugged forests in and around Yosemite National Park.
The MQ-1 unmanned aircraft being remotely piloted hundreds of miles away quickly alerted fire bosses to a new flare-up they otherwise wouldn’t have immediately seen.
The 12-day-old Rim Fire continued to grow, expanding to 292 square miles, and containment remained at 23 percent. But increasingly confident fire officials said they expect to fully surround it in three weeks, although it will burn for much longer than that.
New York Times’ site, Twitter hacked
Readers who tried to click on the New York Times’ website got nothing but error messages for several hours during the site’s second major disruption this month, and people also had trouble accessing Twitter. A hacker group calling itself the “Syrian Electronic Army” claimed responsibility.
Within minutes of Tuesday’s attack, the New York Times quickly set up alternative websites, posting stories about chemical attacks in Syria. The service was restored early Wednesday.
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the disruption was caused by a “malicious external attack” that affected its website and email, while Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said the viewing of images and photos was sporadically affected.
Both Twitter and the Times said they were resolving the attack, which actually hit an Australian company that registered their domain names, Melbourne IT.
NYPD labeled mosques terrorist organizations
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents.
The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files.
Appeals court OKs chemo for Amish girl
An appeals court has sided with a hospital that wants to force a 10-year-old Amish girl to resume chemotherapy after her parents decided to stop the treatments.
The court ruled that a county judge must reconsider his decision that blocked Akron Children’s Hospital’s attempt to give an attorney who’s also a registered nurse limited guardianship over Sarah Hershberger and the power to make medical decisions for her.
The hospital believes Sarah’s leukemia is very treatable but says she will die without chemotherapy.
The judge in Medina County in northeast Ohio had ruled in July that Sarah’s parents had the right to make medical decisions for her.
The appeals court ruling issued Tuesday said the judge failed to consider whether appointing a guardian would be in the girl’s best interest.