STANFORD, CA – The father of a 20-year-old man who was convicted on multiple charges of sexual assault does not believe his son should go to prison for “20 minutes of action.”
Last week, Brock Turner, a former swimmer at Stanford University, was sentenced to six months in county jail and probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, the Guardian reports.
Turner was spotted sexually assaulting the young woman behind a dumpster outside of a Stanford University fraternity house.
Two students biking in the area spotted the assault and held Turner down until authorities could arrive.
After Turner was found guilty on three felony counts, including assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person, he faced a maximum of 14 years in prison.
Turner’s father called on the judge to be lenient in his sentencing, saying that his son had already paid “a steep price … for 20 minutes of action.”
As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan 17th and 18th. He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. His ever waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite. Brock always enjoyed certain types of food and is a very good cook himself. I was always excited to buy him a big ribeye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him. I had to make sure to hide some of my favorite pretzels or chips because I knew they wouldn’t be around long after Brock walked in from a long swim practice. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations. What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan. 17th 2015. Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity. By having people like Brock educate others on college campuses is how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results. Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation and allows him to give back to society in a net positive way.
Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Turner to six years in a state prison, the Guardian reports.
However, the judge only sentenced Turner to six months in county jail because he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on the 20-year-old.
“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” said the judge. “I think he will not be a danger to others.”
The judge’s decision sparked outrage across social media, especially after BuzzFeed released the victim’s 12-page impact statement, which quickly went viral.
You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated, we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering. Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.
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. The isolation at times was unbearable. You cannot give me back the life I had before that night either. While you worry about your shattered reputation, I refrigerated spoons every night so when I woke up, and my eyes were puffy from crying, I would hold the spoons to my eyes to lessen the swelling so that I could see. I showed up an hour late to work every morning, excused myself to cry in the stairwells, I can tell you all the best places in that building to cry where no one can hear you. The pain became so bad that I had to explain the private details to my boss to let her know why I was leaving. I needed time because continuing day to day was not possible. I used my savings to go as far away as I could possibly be. I did not return to work full time as I knew I’d have to take weeks off in the future for the hearing and trial, that were constantly being rescheduled. My life was put on hold for over a year, my structure had collapsed.
The local district attorney expressed disappointment in the lenient sentencing saying, “the punishment does not fit the crime.”
“The predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth. The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim’s ongoing trauma,” District Attorney Jeff Rossen said. “Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape. And I will prosecute it as such.”
Those outraged by the judge’s ruling have signed a Change.org petition, asking for the judge to be recalled from his judicial position.
Stanford University statement regarding Brock Turner case:
Stanford University did everything within its power to assure that justice was served in this case, including an immediate police investigation and referral to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office for a successful prosecution.
Stanford urges its students to do the right thing and intervene and we are proud of our students for stopping this incident. Many other student witnesses cooperated in the investigation. Once Stanford learned the identity of the young woman involved, the university reached out confidentially to offer her support and to tell her the steps we were taking. In less than two weeks after the incident, Stanford had conducted an investigation and banned Turner from setting foot on campus – as a student or otherwise. This is the harshest sanction that a university can impose on a student.
There has been a significant amount of misinformation circulating about Stanford’s role. In this case, Stanford University, its students, its police and its staff members did everything they could. Stanford University takes the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously and has been a national leader in taking concrete steps to implement prevention programs, to train students on the importance of bystander intervention, to provide support to students who may experience sexual assault and to assure that cases are handled fairly and justly.
This was a horrible incident, and we understand the anger and deep emotion it has generated. There is still much work to be done, not just here, but everywhere, to create a culture that does not tolerate sexual violence in any form and a judicial system that deals appropriately with sexual assault cases.