Amid widespread calls for his resignation, Yellowstone County District Judge G. Todd Baugh apologized Wednesday for saying a 14-year-old rape victim was “older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control of the situation” as her attacker.

"I don't know how to pass that off," Baugh told NBC News. "I'm saying I'm sorry, and it's not who I am. I deserve to be chastised. I apologize for that."

On Monday, Baugh sentenced admitted rapist Stacey Rambold to 15 years, then suspended all but 31 days of the sentence. In 2008, Rambold, a former high school teacher, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent with his then 14-year-old student. The victim, Cherice Morales, committed suicide two years later, just before her 17th birthday.

Baugh's comments and lenient sentence sparked outrage and protests on Wednesday. A petition demanding Baugh's resignation has been signed over 17,000 times, and protests are planned for outside of the Yellowstone County courthouse on Thursday.

"I'm glad he apologized, but he should have known better as a judge," Sheena Rice, the protest's organizer, told The Associated Press. "The fact that he said it makes me think he still believes it."

Despite the outrage, Baugh stands by the short jail term he gave Rambold and only expressed regret for his statements about Morales.

[Image via AP]

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