Brock Turner now the textbook definition of ‘rape’ in criminal justice book

A photo of Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer given what many view as a light sentence for sexual assault in 2016, now appears next to the definition of “rape” in a college criminal justice textbook.

Hannah Kendall Shuman, a Washington State University student, posted a photo of a page featuring Turner’s photo from her criminal justice textbook to Facebook on Sept. 7.

“He may have been able to get out of prison time but in my Criminal Justice 101 textbook, Brock Turner is the definition of rape, so he's got that goin for him,” wrote Shuman. The photo appears in “Introduction to Criminal Justice: Systems, Diversity and Change,” second ediiton, by Callie Marie Rennison and Mary Dodge, which was published in January by Sage Press.

Her post received 59,000 likes and 101,000 shares, along with more than 4,000 comments.

Two Swedish graduate students spotted Turner sexually assaulting a woman, who had passed out, behind a dumpster on Jan. 18, 2015, and detained him for campus police. Turner was later convicted of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. He was not charged with rape, which requires forcible penetration by the penis.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky imposed a six-month jail term on Turner, a championship swimmer on scholarship at Stanford University, as a condition of probation in June 2016, sparking outrage at what many considered to be a light sentence. A letter by Turner’s father seeking leniency for “20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life” prompted further outcry.

Turner ultimately served three months of his sentence and has since been released. He withdrew from Stanford shortly after his arrest and was later permanently banned from the university.

The caption beneath the textbook photo reads: “Brock Turner, a Stanford student who raped and assaulted an unconscious female college student behind a dumpster at a fraternity party, was recently released from jail after serving only three months. Some are shocked at how short this sentence is. Others who are more familiar with the way sexual violence has been handled in the criminal justice system are shocked he was found guilty and served any time at all. What do you think?”

Rennison, one of the authors of the book, spoke about her approach in November when she received the Bonnie S. Fisher Victimology Career Award, reports

“Existing criminal justice books have focused on three elements: cops, courts and corrections,” Rennison said. “They speak little about victims, reflecting how they have effectively been in the shadows of our criminal justice system. In our book, victims are front and center with equal emphasis as cops, courts and corrections. This is the way it should be.”