News


Woman testifies in Brock Turner trial

Hospital nurse testifies to sexual-assault response exam process

The 23-year-old woman whom former Stanford University student Brock Turner allegedly sexually assaulted on campus in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2015, testified Friday afternoon in Palo Alto that she had no memory of the incident.

"Emily Doe," whose name the Weekly has changed to protect her privacy, took the stand Friday in the trial for People v. Brock Allen Turner, which began this week.

Turner, who was a freshman and all-star swimmer at Stanford at the time of the alleged assault, has been charged with three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person; sexual penetration of an intoxicated person; and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. In February, he plead not guilty to five felony charges, which were later reduced to three.

Doe, who was a recent college graduate in January 2015, testified to what she had done earlier that Saturday. She said she went on a hike at Arastradero Preserve with her younger sister and a friend, ate at a local restaurant, went home and eventually decided to attend a fraternity party at Stanford with her younger sister and two of her sister's friends that evening.

She described how much alcohol she drank before her mother drove the group to campus and how much she consumed at the Kappa Alpha fraternity house. She described her level of intoxication, which went from feeling "buzzed" and "silly" early in the evening to "very out of it" and "not articulating much" later, when she remembers standing outside on a back patio of the house with her younger sister, her sister's friend (a Stanford student) and three men. One of the men gave her a beer, she said, but she didn't drink much of it. She did not remember meeting Turner.

Her next memory was of waking up in a hospital hallway, laying on a gurney wearing hospital pants, her dressed pushed up to her waist. She saw dried blood on her hand and thought she had fallen down or had gotten too drunk and was in trouble in a university administration building, she said. She said she did not know what time it was, where she was or why she was there.

A police deputy told her there was "reason to believe she had been sexually assaulted."

"I didn't know where I was. I didn't know what they were talking about ... when they told me this, I thought, 'You have the wrong person.' I thought they must be confused," Doe testified, through tears, in court Friday.

It was not until she went to use the restroom and reached to pull down her underwear and saw they were missing that she realized something was wrong, she said.

Doe had been unconscious and unresponsive from when Stanford Department of Public Safety Deputy Jeff Taylor found her lying on her side behind a Dumpster behind the Kappa Alpha fraternity house around 1 a.m. until 4:15 a.m., when she awoke at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Taylor testified Thursday that Doe did not respond to numerous attempts he and others made to wake her, from finding her on campus through a 30-minute ambulance ride to San Jose and while at the hospital.

Doe said that she had no memory of being in an ambulance. Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci, who works with the county's sexual-assault unit, showed Doe a series of photographs taken of her when she arrived at the hospital. One shows her strapped onto a backboard, with pine needles strewn throughout her hair. Others testified to noticing the pine needles in her hair, which fell off in a trail that followed her as she moved around the hospital.

Doe said she did not know photographs had been taken of her at the hospital.

Later that morning, Doe agreed to a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam at the hospital, which was administered by two nurses, one of whom testified Friday. According to Stanford's Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response (SARA) website, Valley Medical Center is the designated hospital for Santa Clara County with a special SART clinic staffed by professional clinicians who are specially trained to treat victims of sexual assault. Stanford students who have or may have been sexually assaulted and would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination and evidence collection kit can request to be seen by a nurse at Valley Medical. Evidence collection is not done at the university's Vaden Health Center nor at Stanford University Medical Center.

Kristine Setterlund said she has been a SART nurse since 1987, has conducted more than 700 SART exams and testified as an expert in numerous court cases. She described the standard process for administering the sexual-assault exam, the purpose of which is to collect evidence off a person's body after a sexual assault has allegedly occurred and give it to police, Setterlund said.

SART nurses typically interview a patient after he or she has been medically cleared; conduct a physical exam, including a pelvic exam on women; take photographs; and document any injuries in detail on diagrams, Setterlund said. They then package all of the evidence and give it to police for further analysis.

Kianerci entered into evidence Friday Doe's SART exam diagrams and several photographs taken during the exam. Setterlund testified to a series of abrasions and erythema — redness on the skin — she documented on various places on Doe's body. She compared erythema to the redness that would appear after a person is slapped; Turner's attorney, Michael Armstrong of Palo Alto firm Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, asked if it could also be caused by "friction." She said it could.

Sutterlund said Doe's injuries showed there was "significant trauma," including "penetrating trauma," but could not say what caused it.

Earlier that morning, Setterlund also conducted a male SART exam on Turner at the Stanford Department of Public Safety. She said she collected evidence from his lips and hands — swabbing his lips for saliva, his palms, the shaft of each finger, his nail beds, underneath his fingernails — and all of the results were submitted to a crime lab. A lab employee will testify during the trial, Kianerci said on Thursday.

Turner also had abrasions and erythema on several places on his body, Setterlund said, and "vegetation or soil" on his back, hands, ankles and forearms. (A male Stanford student, Peter Jonsson, who saw Turner on top of Doe that evening, testified to tackling him to the ground. Jonsson had been riding to the KA house on his bike, noticed the person underneath Turner was not moving, and called out "What the ---- is going on? She's unconscious," after which Turner got up and ran away.)

Armstrong called into question the fact that police officers had told Setterlund some information about what happened that evening before she conducted both exams and that she interviewed Doe to take her account of what happened but not Turner. Setterlund said it is standard to not interview a sexual-assault suspect during a SART exam and that information she was given before the exams did not influence the process in any way.

"We don't ... only go with what the victim says or what the police say," Setterlund said.

"Did what the police officers told you affect your observations of injuries on (Doe) in any way?" Kianerci asked in a series of follow-up questions.

"No," Setterlund responded.

"Did the injuries, for the lack of a better term, speak for themselves?" Kianerci asked.

"Yes, they did," Setterlund said.

The trial of People v. Brock Allen Turner began Monday, with jury selection stretching through Wednesday. The prosecution has called several witnesses since Thursday morning, including Stanford Deputy Jeff Taylor; Jonsson and another graduate student he was with that evening, who also restrained Turner until police arrived; two of Doe's sister's friends who were with Doe that evening; and Doe's boyfriend.

Doe's boyfriend testified to some text and phone calls they exchanged early in the morning of Jan. 18, including a voicemail she left him. Kianerci played the voicemail in court on Thursday. In it, Doe is almost entirely incomprehensible, her words slow, slurred and jumbled.

One of Doe's sister's friends, who she knows from college, testified to seeing a man at the party kiss Doe's sister "out of the blue" while they were standing in a group talking together. She later identified that man as Turner, and did again in court this week.

Armstrong said in his opening statement Wednesday that Turner will also testify.

The trial will resume Monday, March 21, at the Palo Alto Courthouse on Grant Avenue.

---

Follow Weekly reporter Elena Kadvany on Twitter (@ekadvany) throughout the trial.

The Palo Alto Weekly has created an archive of past news articles, social media reaction and other content related to the ongoing sexual assault issues at Stanford University. To view it, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.

Comments

31 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 18, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Honestly, he was 19 years old. He was drunk, she was drunk. Everyone was drunk. What is the point of ruining his life like this? Kicking him out of a TOP school AND handing him a felony he'll carry for the rest of his life on his record? [Portion removed.]


120 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:36 pm

You have got to be kidding. He is an adult. He had forced sex with an unconscious women. That is Rape. He should be punished.


10 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:37 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 19, 2016 at 5:05 am

Very sad to see this happening.
They are smart students yet this 'drinking' has become a culture in college more on the east coast than west coast.

There should be consequences for forcing upon some one.

That's all I say. Ruined two lives. Life's lesson.

Smart people learn from others mistakes. Not so smart/Dumb people learn from their own.

Regards


72 people like this
Posted by NoMeansNo
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:07 am

Educate yourselves on the characteristics of a sexual predator. They look for or create opportunities to victimize. Those of you wanting to excuse this because of the drinking and clothes she may have been wearing are reveling yourselves as potential predators. Why "ruin" his life you say? She was agreeing you say because of her "gestures" "body language" and "mood or environment". So if we follow that delusional logic anyone who attends a party, and is enjoying themselves laughing or talking with friends having a drink is basically saying, in your opinion, "I want to have sex with anyone who wants to take advantage of me". [Portion removed.]

It is so disgusting to here anyone trying to justify the actions of this guy in sexually assaulting this young women. Yes he should be expelled and put in jail! He should have thought of his "career" before taking advantage of someone's in a vulnerable state. [Portion removed.]


34 people like this
Posted by Community RN/APN
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:32 am

I decided to observe the proceedings as I am considering beoming a SART nurse. I was embarrassed and appalled by the SART nurse's testimony, an alleged expert in this field. She kept referring to the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal cavity that holds the "guts" in. She should have been saying PERINEUM which is the term for the female anatomy. To hear an expert mispronounce an anatomical term repeatedly certainly lowered her credibilty.
She then described the culposcope as a camera. It is a microscope, not a camera. She also struggled to explain nuclei, epidermis and dermis; she came across as biased. She struggled to spell terms/findings/medications that she has used for many years, she was not credible. [Portion removed.] I also noted the DA was leading her to make statements which was disturbing. One superficial abrasion was stated to be "significant trauma"? [Portion removed.]
I am not judging the alleged victim or the alleged assailant. This SART nurse's testimony has certainly opened my eyes to our criminal justice system which seems quite flawed.


53 people like this
Posted by Adam
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2016 at 10:09 am

I suppose the victim blaming is to be expected. Still sad though.

In an earlier article here it was noted that the defense's attorney stated that Turner was the ONLY person who knew everything that happened that night and could testify in detail about that. So I'm having trouble with the "he was really drunk" angle. If his memory is crystal clear, it sounds like he knew what he was doing. Wheras she was, by all accounts, unconscious. I'm not sure why people struggle with what led up to this incident - her dress, her purported flirting (sorry, but where exactly is that on record as happening anyway?) She was unconscious, unconscious, unconscious.

One of the things I'll be teaching my son, when he is old enough, is to be like the guys on the bikes who alerted police. Not the guy who takes advantage of an unconscious woman. You can't get/give consent when you are unconscious. Plain and simple.

All that said, I feel awful for all involved. Especially the parents of both parties. I can't imagine what it would be like to be either set. I would very much like to believe my son would never be involved in something like this. Maybe they thought that too. Best thing I can do is educate and teach.


25 people like this
Posted by Sharron
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

Why do rape shield laws only protect the woman, but the man's name is splashed all over the place. He has been punished, before he has been convicted. Remember the Duke lacrosse or the UVA fiascos, where the men were convicted in the court of public opinion, but the women, who lied, were fully protected?


32 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2016 at 7:52 pm

The rape shaming and victim blaming comments in this thread are some if most abhorrent jce ever read.


13 people like this
Posted by why not?
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 20, 2016 at 12:26 am

"Stanford students who have or may have been sexually assaulted and would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination and evidence collection kit can request to be seen by a nurse at Valley Medical. Evidence collection is not done at the university's Vaden Health Center nor at Stanford University Medical Center." Why not??


6 people like this
Posted by should have took the plea deal
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2016 at 8:29 am

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by student
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

Hey @Brock - you might have had a chance with the affluenza defense, then the state of the victim wouldn't matter. A blame-the-victim defense is going to earn you a long prison sentence, which I guarantee will not be pleasant for you.


11 people like this
Posted by Ellis
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Affluence (or lack of) doesn't have a place in this conversation, unless you're Kobe Bryant. Since when does posting quick bail (only 10% required) make one affluent in this day of home equity lines of credit, credit card credit, etc.?? Stop the blaming and shaming and let the truth come out in court, provided everyone plays by the book.


4 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2016 at 3:56 pm

[Post removed.]


31 people like this
Posted by Terrace Antelope
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Terrace Antelope is a registered user.

I was at first in agreement with the first poster; "they were both drunk and young"... why ruin lives? Then I checked myself -- dudes... as much as I loved getting drunk and hooking-up when I was ~20, I simply can't imagine having sex with a girl who is passed out. I knew guys like that when I was younger, they prayed on vulnerable super-drunk girls. If his excuse is that he was too drunk to know what was going on, i dont buy it. We all have an internal voice that should tell us to stop, no matter how drunk we are. If you dont have this voice, well then that's why you're sitting in front of a group of 12 of your peers who will deliberate your future for you.


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

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