National

Father of sex attacker says son shouldn't go to prison for ‘20 minutes of action’

Brock Turner, 20, right, makes his way into the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in Palo Alto, Calif. The six-month jail term given to Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman after both attended a fraternity party, is being decried as a token punishment.
Brock Turner, 20, right, makes his way into the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in Palo Alto, Calif. The six-month jail term given to Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman after both attended a fraternity party, is being decried as a token punishment. AP

Brock Turner, a 20-year-old former Stanford swimmer, was found guilty in March for three counts of sexually assaulting a woman in January 2015.

Two Stanford graduate students were biking across campus when they saw Turner thrusting his body on top of a partially naked, unconscious woman behind a dumpster, according to reports. They went over to help and had to chase Turner as he tried to run away.

A judge sentenced Turner to six months in county jail with three years of probation on Thursday. The judge said the light sentence was appropriate because he feared a longer prison term would have a “severe impact” on Turner. He could’ve been sentenced to up to 14 years in state prison.

But the assault itself and the ensuing light sentence aren’t what brought the story into the national limelight. It was a 7,200-word statement by the 23-year-old victim, which she read in full to her attacker in court following his sentencing. It detailed how she found out about the assault, the trauma she went through and how the trial had re-victimized her by making her relive the assault as Turner’s attorney tried to convince a jury that she wanted it and it was her fault for being intoxicated.

“Lastly you said, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life. A life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. ... Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment,” her statement read in part. “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.”

Now, another statement has come out. Turner’s father, Dan Turner, reportedly wrote the letter before his son’s sentencing, hoping to convince the judge to only give his son probation and not jail time. It was posted Sunday morning by Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor and sociologist who led the school’s revision of its sexual assault policies.

Turner’s letter argues that his son has already suffered enough for his crimes, particularly because the swimmer no longer has an appetite. He also blames the assault on “the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”

The victim addressed this issue in her statement, as it was brought up during trial that Brock Turner planned to talk to other students about alcohol consumption and promiscuity.

“Drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that. Goes along with that, like a side effect, like fries on the side of your order. Where does promiscuity even come into play?” she wrote. “I don’t see headlines that read, Brock Turner, Guilty of drinking too much and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that. Campus Sexual Assault. There’s your first powerpoint slide. Rest assured, if you fail to fix the topic of your talk, I will follow you to every school you go to and give a follow up presentation.”

Turner also claims that his son has never been violent, including on that January night in 2015, despite the fact that Brock Turner was convicted of three violent felonies for that night: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated person; sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

Turner also equates his son’s sexual assault as “20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life” and says probation would allow him to “give back to society in a net positive way.”

“I told the probation officer I do not want Brock to rot away in prison. I did not say he does not deserve to be behind bars. The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft time-out, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women,” the victim told Brock Turner. “It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence.”

A woman identified as Ali Ozeri later tweeted a “fixed” version of Dan Turner’s letter, her one and only tweet to date.

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