News

Former Stanford swimmer pleads not guilty to sexual-assault charges

Deputy district attorney: 'Rape is always a crime of violence'

Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, who is accused of raping an unconscious woman on campus in January, pleaded not guilty in court Monday morning to five felony charges of sexual assault.

Turner and his father had flown from Ohio, where they live, for the Feb. 2 arraignment. Judge Aaron Persky denied a request from Turner's attorney, Mike Armstrong of Palo Alto firm Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, that Turner not be required to attend all court appearances.

Persky also filed a one-year protective order preventing Turner from contacting the woman he allegedly raped or coming within 100 yards of her.

Turner, 19, was arrested early in the morning of Jan. 18 after two Stanford graduate students saw him allegedly assaulting the woman outside a fraternity house, chased him when he ran away and detained him until police arrived. Turner denied the allegations in a police report released last week, telling police that his "intentions were not to try to rape a girl without her consent."

The woman, who is not a Stanford student, remained unconscious and unresponsive until she awoke at Valley Medical Center in San Jose several hours later.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney charged Turner last week with five felony counts: rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

If convicted, Turner faces 10 years in prison. He has since withdrawn from the university and is not allowed to re-enroll or return to campus.

Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci, who works with the county's sexual-assault unit, described the two graduate students as "heroes" who brought to light an often unreported and unprosecuted crime.

"When we hear the word 'rape,' we often think physical force," Kianerci told reporters after Turner's arraignment outside the Palo Alto Courthouse. "Rape is more often the thievery of the body and dignity of a woman, taken by offenders who believe no one will know and no one is looking. These types of sexual assaults happen on campuses, at parties all across the country. Sadly, they often go unreported or worse, we're not able to proceed on these cases.

"Luckily for the victim in this case, there were two good Samaritans who were at the right place at the right time, and more importantly, they did the right thing — and that's the message that needs to be sent to the community," Kianerci said. "Don't just stand by if you see something inappropriate. If you see something, say something,"

Kianerci said she objected to Armstrong's request for Turner to only have to attend substantive court appearances under a penal code section that gives sexual-assault cases priority in the criminal justice system.

"It is in the people's interest to have this case move in an expeditious fashion and in order to do that, we need the defendant to be present at every court appearance," she said.

Kianerci said the victim is recovering and asked for the media's sensitivity and respect surrounding her privacy.

When asked to respond to Turner's denial in the police report of the alleged rape, Kianerci said the case is still ongoing.

"We base our decisions on the totality of the evidence, not just based on one self-serving statement," she said.

Turner is expected to return for a plea hearing in the Palo Alto Courthouse on March 30 at 9 a.m.

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by cut and dry
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2015 at 11:37 am

[Post removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci sounds excellent!

This is a sad story and universities should start prohibiting alcohol on campuses for the sake of liability.

Digression: "The woman, who is not a Stanford student, remained unconscious and unresponsive until she awoke at Valley Medical Center in San Jose several hours later."

She was unconscious, within 5-10 minutes from Stanford Hospital, and she was taken 30 minutes or more to a San Jose hospital?




1 person likes this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Perhaps the fraternities should have guest lists at the door for their parties. [Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm

[Post removed. We'll be removing all posts that speculate about or judge the victim, the accused or the events of that evening.]


6 people like this
Posted by Frat House
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm

The story reminds me of a statement my high school daughter made, who btw is a genius in my eyes for this idea:

So many issues would be avoided if schools made the rule that all mixers between frats and sororities be held only at the sorority houses with the girls providing the safe environment and security to remove those who would otherwise not behave as decent people.

It won't be a fix all, but it would eliminate a lot of terrible situations.


7 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm

"We'll be removing all posts that speculate about or judge the victim, the accused or the events of that evening."

Then why leave the speculation on the first post and speculation on posts attached to all of the other stories about this incident - you need to be consistent or otherwise you are demonstrating bias.

I will just say this. I hope a fair and responsible jury is selected. The problem with these cases is that all of the parties lie including the DA. The DA's interest is to win which means there is little interest in truth and justice. At this point of the case all of the comments by the DA are self serving and should not be printed, in the name of justice.


3 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

^^^^Oh, but the words of the defense attorney aren't self-serving? Perhaps they shouldn't be printed, either, "in the name of justice."


3 people like this
Posted by Girl
a resident of Nixon School
on Feb 2, 2015 at 5:36 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Memories - I have not seen any words from the defense attorney have you?. In any case, I agree with you. We would have a better System if neither side promoted their positions prior to trial.

I agree with Frat House, Stanford should do more to provide a safer environment - there are too many ambulance calls on Fri/Sat nights to provide aid to drunken students.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:41 am

Crescent Park Mom is a registered user.

National sororities aren't allowed to host parties with alcohol on their premises. They all have a "dry" house requirement, which means they aren't supposed to have any alcohol in the building. Its a national rule and an insurance requirement by every national sorority. I don't know of a single exception.


8 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Crescent Park Mom is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] Two young lives have just been permanently altered no matter what the circumstances. Lets not be too unkind with our speculation for both their sake.


9 people like this
Posted by Richard C. Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Richard C. Placone is a registered user.

Re. this complex and tragic event, I wish only to address the problem of alcohol on university campuses, specifically Stanford University. I believe California state law sets the age of 21 for the legal purchase of and consumption of alcohol(esp in public places.) Many, if not most national sororities ban the keeping of or use of alcohol on their campus premises. Evidently this is not the case for fraternities. Since a large number of university students are in their late teens to initial 20's (18,19,20)and since many members of fraternities are not aged 21, why does Stanford or any other university in California allow alcohol to be served at these places under any circumstances? If the objection is raised about why should the 21 year old fraternity man be denied his Saturday beer parties because many of his fraternity brothers are under age, then a logical question could be "Are fraternities prepared to card and enforce non alcohol use for under age members?" Not likely, so the only solution is to ban alcohol when under age members are continually present. The 21 and over crowd can always have their alcohol at one of the many bars in town, or even in those hangouts where college students gather, and where they are carded.

Considering this present case, it appears that alcohol was a major ingredient in the mix of events - both parties are reported to have been intoxicated to the point of either unconsciousness or total lack of good judgement. Two young lives are indelibly marred. As a society I think we must ask ourselves: Should alcohol be allowed to flow freely where minors or under age young people are gathering for a weekend fun fest?



Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Post-election reflections -- and sponges
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,610 views

El Camino: Another scheme to increase congestion?
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,609 views

Couples: Philosophy of Love
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,258 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 777 views