Prosecutors seek to revive case against former teacher accused of rape

2012-12-31T17:30:00Z 2013-12-03T13:27:07Z Prosecutors seek to revive case against former teacher accused of rapeBy GREG TUTTLE gtuttle@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Yellowstone County prosecutors on Monday moved to revoke a deferred prosecution agreement involving a former Senior High teacher accused of raping a student.  

A District Court motion filed by Chief Deputy County Attorney Rod Souza states that Stacey Dean Rambold has violated the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement by being terminated from a sex offender treatment program.

The motion seeks to set a new trial date in the case that in October resulted in a $91,000 wrongful death settlement between School District 2 and the family of Rambold's victim, who took her own life at age 16.

The prosecution motion to revive the case against Rambold is the latest development in a case that began in 2007 when Rambold allegedly had sexual contact three times with a then-14-year-old female student, Cherice Moralez.

The girl told a church group leader of the incidents in April 2008, and Rambold was placed on paid leave shortly after the Billings Police Department launched an investigation. 

Rambold, then 49, resigned from the school district in July 2008 and surrendered his Montana teaching certificate.

In October of that year, prosecutors charged Rambold with three counts of felony sexual intercourse without consent.

On Feb. 6, 2010, while the case against Rambold was still pending and three weeks before her 17th birthday, Moralez killed herself.

The girl's death caused problems for prosecutors, who said that they could not convict Rambold without her testimony. 

In July 2010, after several months of negotiations, prosecutors and Rambold signed a deferred prosecution agreement, which put the criminal case on hold for three years and would have led to the dismissal of the case at the end of that period had Rambold completed several conditions.

Among other requirements, the agreement stated that Rambold was to enter sex offender treatment within one week of signing the agreement.

"As a condition of the deferred prosecution agreement, (Rambold) was required to complete a sex offender treatment program at South Central Treatment Associates," according to the motion filed Monday. "The state has received notice from (Rambold's) treatment provider that he was terminated from the treatment program."

The motion does not state when Rambold was terminated from treatment.

The agreement also included an admission by Rambold that he performed oral sex on the girl and a provision that Rambold file an affidavit of that admission to be kept in the investigative file.

"In the event that prosecution is reinstituted, (Rambold) understands that such an admission shall be termed a judicial admission and may be admitted against him at trial without foundation or corroboration and is in itself sufficient for conviction of the offense charged."

The motion to revive the criminal case was filed with District Judge G. Todd Baugh, who did not issue an order on Monday.

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