Explaining the Charges Filed Against Brock Turner

by Ceci Christy 61

January 30th, 2015 College, National, News, Pac-12

Editor’s Note: Because of the complex nature of sexual assault cases, SwimSwam has reached out to contributor and attorney Ceci Christy to analyze the charges filed against former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

SwimSwam reminds our readers that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The analysis below is based upon official court filings and police reports of the incident, and includes details that may be inappropriate for or disturbing to some readers.

The police initially arrested Brock Turner for suspicion of attempted rape immediately after the incident on January 18.  The reason for this charge was because the police only had Turner’s explanation and the two cyclists’ statements as the alleged victim was unable to make any statements at that time.  Additionally, Turner was dressed and there did not appear to be any overt evidence of intercourse at the scene of the incident.

Since the arrest, Turner has been charged with five felony counts: rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious woman, sexual penetration by a foreign object of an intoxicated woman, and assault with intent to commit rape.  .

Under the section 261 of the California penal code, “Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person …

(3) Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating substance … and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused.

(4) Where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the alleged victim meets any one of the following conditions:

(A) Was unconscious or asleep.

(B) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.”

Sexual penetration by a foreign object under California penal code occurs when there is “any penetration, no matter how slight, of the genital … opening of another, done for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse, by any foreign object, substance, instrument, device or by any unknown object.” A foreign object, substance, instrument, or device includes any part of the body (other than a sexual organ) if the alleged victim does not know what is penetrating her.

Consent is defined under section 261.6 as “positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved.”

In order for Turner to be charged with these five felonies, the prosecutor must have some evidence of the crimes.  That evidence would include the information that, according to police reports, the alleged victim was intoxicated, unconscious, and therefore in the interpretation of the prosecutor, unable to have given consent to have sexual intercourse.

Further, the prosecution must have some evidence, no matter how scant, that there was sexual intercourse or penetration.  The alleged victim’s SART results may have shown some evidence of penetration – no matter how slight.  Turner’s attorney will challenge the SART results and any other evidence the prosecutor produces to prove sexual intercourse.

Turner stated in his statement to the police that “he never took his pants off, that his penis was never exposed and that he did not penetrate the alleged victim’s vagina with his penis.”

Regarding the charges of penetration by a foreign object, a foreign object under the statute includes fingers if the alleged victim does not know those fingers are penetrating her. In his statement to the police, Turner stated that he did touch the alleged victim’s genital area with his fingers. The prosecution now needs to prove that the alleged victim was not aware of this touching and that the touching involved penetration, no matter how slight, with the fingers. Again, the SART results may provide this evidence.

Turner’s arraignment on the charges is scheduled in the superior court on Monday.  Turner will enter his pleas to the charges and the court will review the prosecution’s bail request.  Until all the evidence is presented, we will not know the full details of the case – and maybe even not at that point as many pieces of evidence in rape cases do not always get presented in court given the rules of evidence.

Speculation about what really happened on January 18 does not benefit Turner or the alleged victim, nor their families.

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Joan T
4 years ago

I feel for the young woman in this case, and any person who has been through a situation like this. To wake up and not know what happened to your body would obviously be a horrific and traumatic event. I had originally, like most people, had only the basic surface ideas of the details of this case and based my assumptions on the dramatic headlines telling the world of unrepentant, privileged rapist. I was happy when I heard he was convicted and, like most, outraged to hear of his short sentence. My disbelief and anger after hearing of this short sentence prompted me to read more into this story to try to understand how an outright “rapist” could be let… Read more »

Aimee
5 years ago

Just to repeat the information that this article points out …”Under the section 261 of the California penal code, “Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person …

(3) Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating substance … and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused.

(4) Where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the alleged victim meets any one of the following conditions:

(A) Was unconscious or asleep.

(B) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant… Read more »

Common Sense
6 years ago

Would we be questioning his guilt if he were a person of color? I have seen so many cases similar to this, except the defendant was black. Each time the kid was found guilty by the court.

Also just because you went to Brock Turner’s church or went to school with him does not mean you knew him. I know a lot of people who make stupid decisions. None of them have raped or tried to rape anyone. In fact one of my friends who had just consumed 7 shots actually stopped himself from having sex with a girl, because he said and I quote, “We’re both drunk. I’ll regret this later” and passed out. Alcohol doesn’t make you commit… Read more »

Gina Rhinestone
Reply to  Common Sense
6 years ago

Actually just yesterday 5 NJ college boys ( I don’t know what term to use but their skin melanin on a scale of Cris Christie =1 they would be 3-5) were NOT indicted by a grand jury . The charges they faced were horrendous & centred on college rape , imprisonment , grand assault & defilement of a female .

Mom
6 years ago

I am the mother of two teens- a 17 y/o boy and a 15 y/o old girl. First and foremost, it is important to remember that people are innocent until proven guilty. None of us knows what happened that night, including the bicyclists who fortunately came upon the scene. Honestly, I do not think either of the teens involved knows what happened either, due to their extremely innebriated state. While rape is never condoned under any circumstance, I think there are times, possibly this one, where we don’t know if a rape occurred. What happened between the couple prior to leaving the party (words and actions), what happened prior to the bicyclists appearing on scene (consent and actions)? The girl… Read more »

DL
Reply to  Mom
6 years ago

Mom – my feelings exactly. One small correction: it appears that the alleged victim is not a teen because she has completed four years of college, according to reports. That means she’s probably at least 22 years old.

Demosthenes
Reply to  Mom
6 years ago

I normally hate registering for comments but this reply echoes my sentiments exactly. It is incredibly infuriating to see so many posters reply with such conviction to condemn someone for the very serious crime of rape. It seems the consensus among posters is that simply by being ‘unconscious’, the alleged victim was subject to violation. It seems that we are extremely adamant in demonizing the male party. We seem to dismiss the fact that alcohol was involved in both individuals to the extent of inebriation. The case is hardly as clear as many present it to be and those that are doing so, seem to be detaching themselves from reality.

Locke
Reply to  Demosthenes
6 years ago

Hey Valerie, haven’t seen you on webquest in a while…miss tormenting you.

-PW

Rediculousness
Reply to  Mom
6 years ago

As a mother of a girl, I would hope and pray that this never happens to your daughter. The fact that the boy admitted to fondling an unconcious woman, rape is rape even if a penis is not used. There is no action great or small that would make him putting anything (fingers, objects, etc) inside this woman at any point once she is passed out and is unable to make a consious decision whether it is ok or not ok to continue. I don’t care if she had just been begging for it, once she is no longer awake and unable to make a conscious decision about sex, it becomes rape. SHE WAS UNCONSCIOUS!! What makes that Ok to… Read more »

LL
Reply to  Mom
6 years ago

She apparently blacked out and never remembered meeting him. That doesn’t mean she didn’t meet him but given he was caught behind a dumpster in a dark nook and then fled when caught, and she was found unconscious at the time, looks not so good for him. I think it will be interesting to see how this rolls out in court. All the gory details are going to come out and haunt Brock eternally.

joe
6 years ago

Why isn’t anyone taking about the fraternity who clearly was serving alcohol to underagw students. The behaviour is despicable and excusable but I bet if neither had been intoxicated this interaction would have been very different.

David
Reply to  joe
6 years ago

There girl was a college graduate

Anne
Reply to  David
6 years ago

The student was a 19 year old freshman.

LL
Reply to  joe
6 years ago

Because fraternities are glorified to the point that they are allowed to do as they please, apparently. You are absolutely right, however. How is it that these frat parties, particularly on the Stanford campus, involve minors drinking alcohol without any seeming restraint?

Swedish Mom
6 years ago

Hello, never post but wanted to say this: just try imagining having a daughter in this same situation.

goodone
Reply to  Swedish Mom
6 years ago

You should go back to never posting.

SomeoneWithABrain
6 years ago

Stating that you know the defendant from home, or have met him before, and he a sweet, nice, awesome, best dude ever or anything to that sense should not matter at all. Any of you ever here of a guy named Jeffrey Dahmer? YA… the serial killer who would rape and kill other males? Every single one of his neighbors thought he was a pleasant and quiet neighbor who did no wrong. Unless you grew up side by side with an individual, the chances that you truly no them in and out is extremely minimal.

If you want to be brought back down to earth about the chances that the defendant more likely then not committed a version of… Read more »

Afriend
Reply to  SomeoneWithABrain
6 years ago

You are ridiculous. You should past judgement on someone when you don’t know if the person is guilty or innocent.

Afriend
Reply to  Afriend
6 years ago

You are ridiculous. You shouldn’t pass judgement on someone when you don’t know if the person is guilty or innocent. He is innocent until proven guilty.

Rediculousness
Reply to  Afriend
6 years ago

Brock himself has said he fondled the woman after she was unconscious…now tell me how that is judgemental and he should be found innocent??

B-Haus Brother
Reply to  SomeoneWithABrain
6 years ago

I really feel the need to interject here. I also saw this study come out a while back, and have since read many articles effectively debasing the study on the grounds that their sample size is extremely small and very homogeneous in terms of race and location. The link below details out some of the shortcomings of this study. Obviously not condoning what the young man did, but I don’t want people running around saying things that aren’t based on sound research.

https://www.aei.org/publication/polling-organization-ever-taken-seriously-sample-size-73-neither-study-college-rape/

SwimSwamSwum_at_NCSU
Reply to  SomeoneWithABrain
6 years ago

This is where we let the authorities make a decision, not jumping to conclusions. THat said: excessive alcohol is considered “OK” to many swimmers. We ALL need to get our heads around not getting involved in excessive drinking. And, we should all go to parties with a buddy, just in case, and commit to your buddy to always be there with them. Lets all help each other not to be put in the position of drinking so much we make bad decisions (both parties may be in this area, who knows)?
Jeffrey Dahmer was profiled in a cool play in a Baltimore theater (Iron Crow) The play is “Apartment 213” and it sheds light on the man.

Shauna
6 years ago

So many people say something along the lines of, “remember, they were both drunk”. So what? She was drunk and LAYING ON THE GROUND UNCONSCIOUS, he was drunk and COMMITTED A CRIME THAT (allegedly) INVOLVED SEXUALLY VIOLATING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. See the difference? Her intoxication did not involve violating another individual, his did (allegedly). Apples and oranges, people.

Of Course
Reply to  Shauna
6 years ago

Shauna, hypothetically, if they were both drunk and he happened to pass out first, and she kept groping him briefly, without realizing he was unconscious, would she be the criminal and he the victim? Or do you just assume that he, being a man, is the criminal, and she, the woman, is automatically the victim?

Bossanova
Reply to  Of Course
6 years ago

OF COURSE: You may want to look into become a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA for short). You can learn more about this growing movement on Reddit.

Of Course
Reply to  Bossanova
6 years ago

How about we all become “peoples’ rights activists,” instead of falling on the side of one double standard or the other?

CAS
Reply to  Of Course
5 years ago

Of Course: Hypothetically, sure. However, your hypothetical assumes that she her engagement was voluntary at any point. We only have Brock’s word on that, and Brock is a proven liar.

I’m pretty sure that Shauna’s emphasis of “laying on the ground unconscious” indicated that being “unconscious”, not being “woman”, was the key point.

About Ceci Christy

Ceci Christy is the mother of two teenage daughters and has held the proud title of swim mom for nine years. She volunteers extensively at her daughters' swim club in Atlanta. While being a mother is her most rewarding job, Ceci also serves as a pro bono child advocate in …

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