[Trigger warning for rape]
Well, that was quick.
In a development that definitely disappoints but doesn’t surprise, Brock Turner was released from jail Friday, a stunningly short three months into an already pathetic six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Early release for good behavior, you know. Nice boy that he is, who just made some bad decisions this one time.
Western Ohio… he’s yours now.
What happened then
In March, a Santa Clara County jury found Turner guilty of three felonies: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person. The conviction stemmed from the charming, athletic, wealthy, white Stanford student’s arrest in 2015 after his victim blacked out at a frat party and woke up in a hospital covered in pine needles and dried blood, with bandages on her hands and elbows and no underwear. She’d been found by two passersby, unconscious behind a dumpster, dress around her waist, naked from the waist down with Turner grinding away against her. He tried to make a run for it, but the passersby chased him and pinned him to the ground until the police showed up.
The deputy DA asked for six years, on account of Turner being a complete and useless shitbag who showed no remorse, insisted that his unconscious victim was actually conscious and consenting, and in his statement to police basically describing a lion culling a wounded antelope from a herd for the purpose of victimizing her behind a dumpster because he wanted to git some, oh but she actually liked it, so.
Turner’s dad pushed for probation, on account that Turner shouldn’t have to pay “a steep price […] for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” and “he will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile,” and “his life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve,” unlike (one assumes) his victim, who (one assumes) is now going around with a song in her heart and nothing but brightness in the life ahead of her.
In his own defense statement, Turner blamed the “campus drinking culture” at Stanford. He asked for probation so that he could do good in the world, like “chang[ing] people’s attitudes towards the culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity.” He told his probation officer that “being drunk [he] just couldn’t make the best decisions and neither could she.”
“I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me,” he said, and if you are not at this moment crying for this poor, misguided boy, you are a monster.
(In her victim impact statement, said victim describes the experience of waking up to the reality of what had been done to her, and then being re-victimized throughout the course of the trial, and called specific bullshit on basically everything Turner said, and talked about how even now she can’t go outside alone or sleep without a nightlight, but is she a talented swimmer whose Olympic dreams have been dashed by a few minutes of alcohol-induced poor judgment? No, she is not.)
In a stunning show of putting Turner in his place, thank you very much, the (Stanford alum) judge opted not to sentence him to probation, instead giving him a hard-assed… six months, due to what the judge appeared to interpret as a show of “sincere remorse” and the fact that Turner’s judgment was impaired by alcohol when he sexually assaulted his victim. Not to mention the fact that “[a] prison sentence would have a severe impact on him” at his delicate and impressionable age.
He doesn’t even like steaks anymore, y’all. This sweet, innocent boy has suffered enough.
What happens now
Turner will now have to serve three years’ probation and enter a sex offender management program. He’ll have to register as a sex offender and submit to counseling and drug and alcohol testing. Time will only tell when he’ll be in the mood to enjoy steaks again.
His new neighbors in the Dayton area will, one can assume, continue to picket his parents’ house with rifles until they’re confident that he won’t suffer any future poor judgment.
There are currently calls to get Judge Aaron Persky off of the bench, including a Change.org petition calling for impeachment hearings by the California state assembly. As of next week, Persky has voluntarily removed himself from hearing criminal cases. (In June, 20 potential jurors refused to serve in his courtroom on an unrelated case because he’s such a worthless fuck.)
And Turner’s victim will… I don’t know, whatever. Not have to deal with the impact of being banned for life from USA Swimming, that’s for sure. She and all of the other sexual assault victims who have been physically violated, been torn apart and slut-shamed in court, and then got to watch their assailant get off with the slap on the wrist or less as they themselves carry around their own fear and the judgment of others for the rest of their lives can at least be thankful that they can still swim competitively if they want to.
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