Melissa Harris-Perry, in part:
I would like to think a safe assumption that, of all people, a district court judge in Montana is intimately familiar with the laws in Montana. but your statements in court on Monday suggest that maybe you could use a bit of a refresher. So allow me to help you out.
According to Montana law, a victim is incapable of giving consent if the victim is less than 16 years old. Incapable of giving consent. Because, Judge Baugh, a victim less than 16 years old, in this case, a 14-year-old, is a child. A child like 44% of those who are victims of rape.
And the law codifies our collective understanding that children deserve special protections because their youth and immaturity makes them inherently disempowered in a sexual, as you call it, "situation" with an adult. Which means Charisse, this child, was in no way capable of controlling or consenting to the actions of the grown man who had sex with her, and I call her a victim here, not a survivor, because while she survived for the moment, she ultimately succumbed.
So she was no more able to prevent her rape than she was to somehow age herself beyond her 14 years.
So your statement that she was older than her chronological age, along with implicating her as a participant in her own assault, amounts to excusing the crimes of an adult while laying blame on a child that he victimized.
That child, Charisse, isn't even here anymore to speak for herself.
So if she were, she might tell you that it's this kind of shaming, the idea that it is somehow our own fault, that keeps so many survivors, including me, silent after their rape. And makes survivors four times as likely to contemplate the drastic action that Charisse ultimately chose to end their own lives.
Judge Baugh, it's bad enough that thanks to you an admitted child rapist will be a free man by the end of the month, but the day after the sentencing, you defended your decision by saying, quote, "I think that people have in mind that this was some kind of violent, forcible, horrible rape. It was horrible enough as it was, just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible, beat-up rape."
If I didn't know any better, I would think you were exchanging your judicial robes for a Republican seat in Congress, because you're sounding a lot like former Senator Todd "legitimate rape" Akin before his comments got him voted out of office.
So let me remind you a couple of the same things I reminded him of. First, rape is rape. full stop.