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Ex-Stanford swimmer’s jail term decried as too lenient

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Brock Turner, 20, right, makes his way into the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in Palo Alto, Calif.

PALO ALTO, Calif. >> A six-month jail term for a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus after both attended a fraternity party is being decried as a slap on the wrist.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced 20-year-old Brock Turner to six months in county jail and three years’ probation after the woman who was assaulted read the court an emotional statement that has gone viral. Turner must also complete a sex offender management program and register as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life.

In her statement, the woman described how the attack left her emotionally scarred.

“My independence, natural joy, gentleness, and steady lifestyle I had been enjoying became distorted beyond recognition. I became closed off, angry, self-deprecating, tired, irritable, empty,” she said.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said he was disappointment that the judge did not sentence Turner to prison.

“The punishment does not fit the crime,” Rosen said in a statement after the sentence was announced Thursday. “The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim’s ongoing trauma. Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape.”

A jury in March found Turner guilty of three felony sexual assault counts for the January 2015 attack, which was interrupted by two graduate students who saw him assaulting a partially clothed woman behind a trash bin. Turner tried to flee, but the students tackled and pinned him down until police arrived and arrested him.

Turner had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, the San Jose Mercury News reported (http://bayareane.ws/1UoYhNk). The three-time All American high school swimmer from Dayton, Ohio, withdrew from Stanford after his arrest.

The San Jose Mercury News did not identify the woman. The Associated Press does not generally identify victims of sexual abuse.

The woman, who was not a student, told investigators she drank about four shot glasses of whisky before going to the fraternity party, and then drank vodka there. The next thing she said she remembered was waking up at a hospital in San Jose, where a deputy told her she may have been a victim of sexual assault.

“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it,” the woman wrote in a letter to Turner and Judge Persky that she read in the courtroom during the sentencing. “I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”

In an editorial, the San Jose Mercury News called the six-month county jail sentence “a slap on the wrist.”

“Brock Turner’s six-month jail term for sexual assault of an intoxicated, unconscious woman on the Stanford campus last year is a setback for the movement to take campus rape seriously,” the newspaper said. “If Turner’s slap on the wrist sentence is a setback, activists can take some comfort that the jurors at the trial in March saw what happened as a very serious crime.”

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        • Yes and No. Agree It is not the womans fault yet getting drunk greatly INCREASED the circumstances in which she got raped. Again she did not deserve anything that happened to her that night yet it is a fact had she not drank alcohol, chances are she would not have gotten in the situation that has left her physically and emotionally scarred, hopefully not for life. Ask the question, “yes, rape is never the victims fault, HOWEVER under conditions like a frat party is it worth getting drunk or high if it greatly increases a woman’s chance of getting raped?” There is a lesson in this story and it is not an uncommon occurence but young college kids seem to never learn or think it will happen to them. I think that is why the judge handed this sentence down that is considered lenient because if alcohol was not consumed by BOTH the perpetuator and victim, the rape would never have occurred and showed poor judgment by both parties. The sad irony is if the sheriff did not tell the victim she was sexually assaulted, she would have never known she was raped because she was so wasted in which she HERSELF chose to drink glasses of whisky and vodka before and during the frat party that left her stinken drunk

      • If your expensive car is stolen, are you to blame because you don’t drive a cheaper one. If you are mugged, are you to blame because you had too much money in your wallet. Your comments is repulsive.

    • The rich have a different kind of justice as the OJ trial showed in the 1990’s. This is a disgusting situation but it happens very often actually.

  • Yes, very troubling sentence/penalty for the crime!
    On the other side of the coin, good girls do not attend/visit frat houses with having 4 shots of whiskey before arriving?

    • Wow cojef I didn’t know you were the defense attorney because that’s exactly what all defense attorneys are trained to say in the event of rape charges against their clients. Now if he was able to kill her and dump her body in the convenient dumpster next to them, the defense attorney could have said, “he had such a troubled childhood and was a victim of abuse himself”. But I guess you already knew that.

  • Drinking and driving endanger everything and everyone! It helps to have a designated driver to help keep you, your passengers and the public safe from harms way. So when engaged in drinking , especially excessively, at a public or unfamiliar places, it would be wise to have at your side at all times, a designated non-drinker friend or relative to help keep you safe from being taken advantage of.

    • I have to agree that a person is responsible for their own safety. Engaging in risky behavior such as getting yourself passed out drunk at a fraternity party is clearly poor judgment. I’m not saying she “asked for it”, but sometimes you have to use basic commen sense.

      • Agree. On the flip side, if you get drunk, and someone takes care and get you home safely, that is a truly trusting person, someone you can depend on.

  • And that’s why athletes get bad rap as some can get away with any CRIME by the judicial system. Brings up question about bribes and politics – and this is with 2 witnesses who had to Stop this CRIMINAL who has to RAPE an unconscious woman as he can’t get a conscious woman to be with him. It takes so much for a Crime to be actually punished in this country, and what for when the judge protects the criminal rather than the victim. So what if this criminal wasn’t all-star? He would probably be in jail. So tax payers have to pay for criminals to get help but not the victim? And he ‘withdrew’ from Stanford but they didn’t kick him out – says a lot about Stanford.

  • Turner reportedly had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit. The story does not say how the victim was sexually assaulted. I find it hard to believe that a guy with that much alcohol in him was able to get an erection. It is quite possible the assault was fondling with the hands or something other than rape and may be why the sentence was not as severe as everyone seems to think it should have been.

  • Washington Post reports today that “A new study, published this week in the journal Violence Against Women, suggests that sexual assault by college men is an even more widespread problem than the scandals imply. In an online survey [at a Division I school] about sexual activity and attitudes, more than half the men who played an intramural or intercollegiate sport reported coercing a partner into sex. Of the sexually coercive behaviors listed on the survey… almost all met the legal definition of rape.”

  • The story says the woman was sexually assaulted, yet some readers who commented concluded she was raped. Where in the story does it say that? Sexually assault is now defined in most jurisdictions as any non-consensual touching of a person. It was not too long ago when athletic team coaches would pat players on their butts and say “Go get em?” Well, that is sexual assault today in most places. We are almost to the point where sexual thoughts will be considered sexual assault.

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