The internet is outraged over 20 year old, Brock Turner. Former Stanford University student was convicted on three counts of felony rape. He was convicted in March of the intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person. But, his punishment was a mere 6 months in prison with probation despite his continual denial that he sexually assaulted the victim. He will also have to be registered as a sex offender when released back into the public.
Objectively, his sentence was far less than others who committed similar crimes. Outraged by the sentence, the victim released a powerful 13 page letter describing the horrible experience. The letter can be found here https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.qbzZMe0Q1#.ax9MOoWeQ. She describes a traumatic series of events that would leave almost anyone psychologically scarred for life. The victim had fingers, pine cones, and other miscellaneous debris shoved into various orifices until she bled. Other evidence suggests that she had been physically beaten throughout the incident.
This is the unfortunate truth for many people who suffer the stigma of sexual assault victim. This victim was in fact lucky in that two young graduate students stopped the assault when they did as well as bringing the perpetrator to justice. One man even tackled Turner as he attempted to flee the scene after he was discovered. They held him there until police arrived to process him. The vast majority of sexual assault cases go unpunished or in even reported due to lack of evidence or social stigma.
Santa Clara County Superior Judge Court Aaron Persky deemed the sentence “appropriate” due to not being a danger to others and his swimming lap times. He states that “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Persky said. “I think he will not be a danger to others.” Turner’s lawyers banked on the fact that he is a promising young athlete to garner some leniency. Stanford University immediately conducted their own investigations and banned Turner from stepping foot on campus which is the heaviest sanction the University can enact.
There has been massive backlash on Judge Persky and he has even received death threats. But, David LaBahn, the president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, who practiced in California for many years said “Judges are allowed wide discretion.” Despite that, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen made it quite clear that he felt “The punishment does not fit the crime.” There is even a petition circulating online against Judge Persky to recall him as he presides in California, a state where judges are elected and not appointed.