Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced Thursday to six months in county jail and three years’ probation for the sexual assault of an unconscious intoxicated woman behind a dumpster on campus.

Turner, once an Olympic hopeful was arrested in the early morning hours of Jan. 18, 2015 after two Stanford graduate students who were bicycling by the Kappa Alpha fraternity saw him on the ground, thrusting his hips atop an unconscious, partially clothed woman. The students called police and chased down Turner.

The victim had attended a frat party on campus with her younger sister.  The two were separated and the victim became intoxicated to the point of blacking out.  She woke up in the hospital the next morning with no memory of what happened, learning she had been the victim of sexual assault at the hospital.

Turner had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, the San Jose Mercury News reported.  The three-time All American high school swimmer from Dayton, Ohio, withdrew from Stanford after his arrest.  Turner was convicted in March of three felony counts.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky said he weighed Turner’s character, lack of criminal history and remorsefulness in determining to bypass the heavier penalty of six years in state prison requested by prosecutors.  The judge said he opted for just a few months in jail because he argued that a prison sentence would “have a severe impact on Turner.”   With good behavior, Turner, 20, is expected to serve three months in county jail. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and complete a sex offender management program.

After Thursday’s hearing, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said Turner should have been sent to prison for sexual assault. “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.”

Probation department officials recommended six months in county jail and said the probation officer weighed the fact that Turner had surrendered a hard earned swimming scholarship.  Turner requested a four-month county jail term; the maximum sentence he could have gotten was 14 years in state prison.  After the hearing, Turner’s attorneys notified the court they plan to appeal the conviction.

Unsurprisingly, the internet was set ablaze with people outraged at the leniency of his sentence.  In the few days since Turner was sentenced, much of the internet’s chatter has converged on a heart-wrenching statement his victim read to him in court. It’s a devastating account of the survivor’s revictimization during the trial, a powerful indictment of the lighter sentences imposed on white, wealthy sex criminals, and a haunting depiction of how rape culture exerts its influence on college campuses and in courts of law. The victim provided her statement to BuzzFeed News; the page been viewed more than 4 million times since Friday afternoon.  Many are calling it a setback for the movement to take campus rape seriously and feel it will seriously hinder future victims from coming forward.

Advertisements