Having been found guilty of three felony sexual assault charges stemming from an on-campus incident taking place in January 2015, former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was handed his sentence today in California.
Turner, who was a freshman on the Stanford swimming roster during the 2014-2015 season, was arrested in January of 2015 after being found on top of an unconscious woman near a fraternity house on the Stanford campus.
The victim was a 23-year-old woman who had graduated from a different school, but visited a fraternity party at Stanford with her sister and some friends. She testified that she had no memory of the events of the night after drinking at the party. Two bikers, who found Turner on top of her and confronted him, testified that Turner tried to run, and that the woman was unconscious.
After deliberating for two days, the jury found Turner guilty of all three charges: assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.
A punishment of up to 10 years in prison could have been sought by the prosecution for the guilty verdicts, however, the prosecution reportedly asked the judge to sentence Turner to six years in a California prison.
Reportedly leaning toward the probation officials’ recommendation of a lesser penalty, Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail and probation, per The Guardian.
The judge presiding over the case, Aaron Persky, pointed to Turner’s age and lack of criminal history in the decision to issue a 6 month county jail sentence. “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him … I think he will not be a danger to others.”
After the sentencing was announced, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen stated that “the punishment does not fit the crime.”
At the hearing, the 23-year-old victim stated to the court, “We cannot forgive everyone’s first sexual assault … The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly. We should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.”
Addressing Turner directly, the victim stated, “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today. I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt.”
For his part, Turner vocalized a short statement, “Nobody deserves a single second of what I have caused them to go through … I want to express that I’m sorry for everything.” (The Guardian)