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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6 years ago

This is a good analysis, but one point I disagree with (from my own experience as a defense attorney) is that when there is slight penetration, there will typically be no physical signs on the victim.

duckduckgoose
Reply to  attorneybogen
6 years ago

So what are the chances that this case goes to trial? Brock’s reportedly admitted he removed her underwear and penetrated her already, so would a DA take this case to trial under all circumstances without the possibility of a plea to lesser charges? Can’t imagine a long-term local resident relishes being put on the stand and being asked about the intimate details of her sex life while testifying against a Stanford athlete. The Vandy case was different because there was video evidence and 4 guys were involved.

Reply to  duckduckgoose
6 years ago

To try to answer your questions:

1. You never know if a case will go to trial at this stage. Some clients will go to trial no matter what the evidence is against them, and others will plea. Many sex cases tend to get resolved with a plea deal because no prosecutor wants to force a victim to testify, and on the other hand a smart client in a case where the evidence looks bad will want to cut his losses. In plea deals neither side gets 100% of what they want, but the court system would collapse if every case went to a jury trial.

The biggest factor about whether or not this goes to trial will depend… Read more »

duckduckgoose
Reply to  attorneybogen
6 years ago

Thanks for your response. There was a 20/20 segment last night on the Vandy rape case. It was extremely disturbing. Dorm security videos showed the passed out woman being carried from her car to the ringleader’s room. Since fraternities are owned by Stanford, there may be film of her leaving the party which may shed some light on how impaired she was at that point.

The Vandy case was more problematic with physical evidence because the victim wasn’t aware of the possibility she’d been sexually assaulted for several days. At least in this case, physical evidence likely will be available, Stanford Hospital is at most a 5 minute drive from where this young woman was found.

Would think… Read more »

Reply to  duckduckgoose
6 years ago

I am curious how tough prosecutors are out there, more specifically relating to whether or not they may be willing to take things like incarceration or sex offender registration off the table in exchange for a plea.

Reply to  duckduckgoose
6 years ago

How willing the girl is to testify will also be a factor.

Joan T
Reply to  attorneybogen
3 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 »

fern
6 years ago

You are assuming he is guilty remember the innocent until proven guilty. So he is the alleged rapist and she is the alleged victim because he had not been found guilty by the law.

Swimmer1
Reply to  fern
6 years ago

This is the court of public opinion and the public is under no obligation to assume the perpetrator is innocent. From this case the circumstance seems quite clear. He was caught in public on top of an unconscious woman and he proceeded to flee the scene. He has admitted to some level of contact. There are not many ambiguities here and he is going to serve some time.

Reply to  Swimmer1
6 years ago

It’s quite possible she was too drunk to fully know what was going on, but wasn’t unconscious until after the act. She was described as being found in the fetal position. Unconscious people don’t generally move that much.

LL
Reply to  Swimmer1
6 years ago

If Brock Turner is innocent, I’m an extinct flying Juju bird.

Wow
6 years ago

1. Nice grammar
2. You know nothing about this “over-priveledged jerk” and only assume this oh him because of what reason?
3. Just because this sad incident happened while both subjects involved were intoxicated does not make turner a monster, nor does it mean that he would molest little girls. You are very ignorant my friend.

Angela
Reply to  Wow
6 years ago

Cazz. I’m guessing from your response that you may be a victim of sexual assault. If true, I wish that wouldn’t have happened to you. I am from Brock’s home town and can attest he is a sweet, honest, smart, athletic middle class boy with average middle class parents. He has been kicked out of Stanford and is facing serious charges. Everyone here is devastated.

Darien 1986
Reply to  Angela
6 years ago

I’m from Alex Kelly’s home town. We, too, thought that he was a sweet, honest, smart, athletic middle class boy with average middle class parents. We were wrong.

LL
Reply to  Angela
6 years ago

He can’t be that sweet and honest, Angela. He’s lying through his teeth about this case, for one. Fleeing the scene, two. Fleeing does not suggest honesty. I think you want to believe he is that way but sometimes if someone chooses evil, they then become defined by that forever after. Perhaps this is the case with Brock. No “sweet, honest” boy would ever “hook up” with an unconscious woman. Sorry.

Nunya
Reply to  Angela
5 years ago

Good. Devastation is a decent start.

Marie
Reply to  Angela
5 years ago

Good. He should be kicked out of Stanford. He should serve time and he should be devastated. Thats what happens when you SEXUALLY ASSAULT SOMEONE!

Sara
Reply to  Angela
5 years ago

What does being middle class have to do with anything? What do his parents have to do with anything?

Ball at
Reply to  Wow
6 years ago

I don’t know I went to school with the kid and was pretty much definition spoiled brat. And was kind of a dick. But he’ll get what he gets. Not necessarily what he deserves but such is life.

LL
Reply to  Ball at
6 years ago

That sounds far more likely and true than he was “sweet and honest”. I think Brock pulled the wool over someone’s eyes.

LL
Reply to  Wow
6 years ago

It actually does make Turner a monster.

ExCoach
6 years ago

CAZZ – your response about “imagine him as a coach coping feels off little girls” I also find to be ignorant and dramatic. He’s not a pedophile. She was well above the legal age, while the ability of her consent or knowledge of his actions is still in contest. But to presume that he would *desire* to feel every little girl he would ever coach as a nature outcome of his poor choices with this women is just blatantly wrong. That’s like saying that all gay men should be kept from coaching small boys because they can’t be trusted not to touch them as well. The argument has been made by some fundamentalists and is flawed as well. Having sex… Read more »

PAC12BACKER
Reply to  ExCoach
6 years ago

“It’s very sad to see that a young man made this mistake. And I’m sorry for the victim.”

Jumping to conclusions there. We don’t know yet if she was a victim or not until all the facts are out. He drank heavily before the incident – that was a mistake. He allowed himself to be expelled from Stanford without due process, without putting up a defense – maybe that’s a mistake too. Yesterday, everyone assumed this young man was having genital intercourse with this women, and that was incorrect. The facts coming out is that he was clothed with no genital contact by him. She was also talking with the cyclists immediately after being “found unconscious”. I for one… Read more »

Liz
Reply to  PAC12BACKER
6 years ago

From what I’ve read, the victim was unconscious throughout the ordeal and didn’t wake up until hours after being in in the hospital.

BadThings
Reply to  ExCoach
6 years ago

ExCoach, you are absolutely right that we tend to view some people as “older” when they’ve had a lot of public experiences or are relatively well known. That being said, even though he was “only a freshman” he is still responsible for his actions. I fail to see how “he himself was drunk!” is an appropriate excuse (or even softening blow) for his actions. It’s basically saying “He was breaking this other law too though, and that was responsible for him being negligent, so they cancel each other out”. It IS a shame to see someone who dedicated so much of their time, and become so good at something throw it away, but that is effectively what he did. Rape… Read more »

LL
Reply to  BadThings
6 years ago

Maybe instead of people telling young women they shouldn’t drink or else they may be raped, maybe people should be telling young men like Brock not to drink. I know it seems entirely outlandish to expect college boys not to drink and mistreat girls but you know, at some point, someone has to draw the line. And as long as people are making excuses for drunk boys who rape, drunk boys will never learn otherwise.

jaykay
Reply to  ExCoach
6 years ago

He is only 18 the excessive drinking alone should be grounds for his expulsion. Brake the law loose your privileges. It’s not a complex issue. I was arrested as a young woman because of drugs/alcohol. Taking away my choices put me back on track to be successful. Get them young keep them out of the system or thinking they are well rehearsed enough to be above the system.

iLikePsych
Reply to  jaykay
6 years ago

You’re off your rocker if you think universities should expel every student for excessive drinking. They’d lose half their student body.

Buckley
Reply to  ExCoach
6 years ago

Very well put

Rediculousness
Reply to  ExCoach
6 years ago

I don’t care how drunk this boy was, or the lifestyle in which he was brought up in. His behavior was inappropriate and condemning. I don’t care how much he had to drink or what his age is, rape is rape, regardless of his mental state or whether or not he used is penis. Downplaying this act by stating he was drunk and therefore out of control of himself, is disrespectful to the unconcious woman he victimized. If he broke into a house and stole your TV because he was drunk or even high, would you be downplaying the crime he committed and would it make it any less serious?
This is not a mistake, this was a choice… Read more »

LL
Reply to  Rediculousness
6 years ago

Well, saying it’s okay or understandable or we should sympathize because he was drunk while telling the victim and other women they shouldn’t be drinking because it could result in rape, ignores the consequences that happen for young men like Brock. He’s ruined his life and his reputation but no one is calling out frat boys for being out of control. Instead we turn against victims, telling women they shouldn’t drink, while excuses are made for boys who do drink and rape. It’s not just misogynistic and reflective of a rape culture. It’s destructive for young men like Brock who clearly was taught to believe that this was something he could do, or had the freedom to do. Maybe Brock… Read more »

IgnoringFacts
Reply to  Rediculousness
5 years ago

Ignoring the fact that she was drinking and partying with him at a party full of under-aged kids drinking is disrespectful too. No one is holding her accountable for her actions, and in fact, she probably even gave him consent at the party. You really think he wouldve carried her all the way back to the dumpsters through a party without anyone noticing and commenting on it?

If I was drinking with several friends at my house and we all got wasted, and one of my friends broke my TV, I wouldnt blame them. I would accept the fact that I agreed to get messed up with my friends while knowing that people do stupid stuff while being drunk.… Read more »

CAS
Reply to  IgnoringFacts
5 years ago

She was 23, not underaged. You are obviously ignorant of the basic, indisputable facts.

No one except for Brock knows how she got there, and Brock is a proven liar. His story changed when he found out that she did not remember. He also lied to the judge about his experience with drinking/partying “culture”.

It appears that she remembers urinating outside, so she probably left voluntarily. Maybe he followed her. Maybe she knew where she was, and maybe she was wandering aimlessly (since she was not a student, it is likely that she did not know her way around). She called her boyfriend twice during the party–he was clearly on her mind, even while she was drunk. It is… Read more »

6 years ago

One thing to keep in mind here is that voluntary intoxication (on a defendant’s part) is not a legal defense to a criminal charge.

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.

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.

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.

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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