Ex-teacher’s sentence for rape overturned

The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a one-month prison sentence given to a former teacher for the rape of a 14-year-old student, a penalty that sparked outrage and drew criticism from women’s groups as too lenient.

Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh drew fierce public criticism last year when he sentenced the teacher, Stacey Rambold, to just a month in prison for the 2007 sexual assault of his student, Cherice Moralez, who later killed herself.

Baugh fueled the public outrage by saying during Rambold’s sentencing hearing that the teenager seemed older than her years and was “probably as much in control of the situation” as the Billings high school teacher.

On Wednesday, the high court ordered the case assigned to a different judge for resentencing as it ruled the sentence — technically 15 years in prison with all but 31 days suspended and credit for one day served — was too lenient. The court noted that state law requires at least a four-year sentence for the crime, and no more than two years of that can be suspended.

— Reuters

Navy dolphin trainer drowns off San Diego

A contractor with a Navy program that trains dolphins and sea lions for missions drowned during a nighttime exercise in San Diego Bay, the first death for the program that started in 1959, a Navy spokesman said Wednesday.

Coll Perske, 29, was part of a team of contractors with Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. training Navy dolphins and sea lions to intercept someone in the water, Navy spokesman Jim Fallin said. The San Diego County coroner’s office said colleagues pulled Perske out of the water Monday night, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Navy is investigating the incident, but initial reports indicate the mammals had no contact with Perske before he failed to resurface, Fallin said.

— Associated Press

California wildfire spreads: A Southern California wildfire that forced the evacuation of at least 1,100 homes has grown to 800 acres. Fire officials said Wednesday that winds gusting to 60 mph are pushing the flames through the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, although no homes are in immediate danger. Officials said earlier that 200 acres had been charred.

Student accepted by entire Ivy League picks Yale: A suburban New York high school student who was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools announced Wednesday before a phalanx of national media cameras that he has decided to be a member of Yale University’s Class of 2018. Kwasi Enin, 17, said he had been thinking about Yale, but the clincher was a campus visit last week. The teen from Long Island, whose parents emigrated from Ghana in the 1980s, plans someday to go to medical school and become a physician.

— From news services