Women’s Group Urges MT Bar Association to Stop Condoning Rape

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 7, 2015

CONTACT: Andrea L. Alford, 703-477-1075, andrea@fitzgibbonmedia.com or Molly Haigh, 907-750-1999, molly@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Women’s Group Urges MT Bar Association to Stop Condoning Rape

With Yellowstone Chapter of Montana Bar Set to Honor Judge Who Condoned Rape of Teen Girl, Women’s Group Urges Lawyers to Take A Stand Against Rape

MONTANA — Today, national women’s group UltraViolet is calling on the Montana State Bar Association to take a stand against rape in light of news that the group’s affiliate, the Yellowstone Area Bar Association, plans to honor a judge who has condoned rape with a lifetime achievement award. Former Judge G. Todd Baugh earned national ire just two years ago when he sentenced a teacher who raped his 14-year-old student to a mere 30 days in prison.

Judge Baugh was later publicly censured and suspended by the Montana state Supreme Court after learning of his lewd comments blaming the victim, Cherice Moralez, who committed suicide before the case went to trial, for her own rape.

“We demand that the Montana Bar Association, and every member of the organization, stop condoning rape by revoking the lifetime achievement award for a man who excused the rape of a 14-year-old girl,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet. “This is a simple case: either you condone the rape of girls, or you don’t, either you honor those who excuse rape, or you don’t.”

“This is rape culture at its worst,” said Marian Bradley of Pryor, Montana. “As a Montanan and a mother of a sexual assault survivor, I am horrified that the Yellowstone Area Bar Association is condoning rape and standing by its decision to honor Baugh with this award. Shame on any member of the Montana Bar who does not withdraw from an association that chooses to ignore Baugh’s huge indiscretions. This ultimately sends the message that victim-blaming is no big deal.”

To date, 33,256 UltraViolet members have called on the Yellowstone Bar Association to reverse their decision to give Judge Baugh the lifetime achievement award. See UltraViolet’s petition here: http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/judge_baugh/. Members have also made calls to the State Bar of Montana to ask them to disavow Yellowstone’s decision.

For interviews with UltraViolet or Marian Bradley, please contact Andrea L. Alford at 703-477-1075 or by email at andrea@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

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UltraViolet is an online community of over 500,000 women and men who want to take collective action to expose and fight sexism in the public sector, private sector and the media. Find out more at WeAreUltraViolet.org