News

Brock Turner sentenced to six months in county jail, three-year probation

District attorney calls sentencing 'unjust'

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky sentenced on Thursday former Stanford University student-athlete Brock Turner to six months in county jail and three years of probation for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman, acknowledging the "devastation" the woman has suffered yet also the "severe" impact imprisonment would have on Turner.

Positive character letters written on behalf of Turner from his family members and friends, Turner's lack of a prior record and the role that alcohol played in the assault factored into Persky's decision to impose a lighter sentence than the prosecution had asked for, he explained.

Persky said that the difficult criminal proceeding compounded by intense media attention has "poisoned" the lives of those involved.

"The question that I have to ask myself is ... Is state prison for this defendant an antidote to that poison?" Perksy said. "Is incarceration in prison the right answer for the poisoning of (the woman's) life?"

His conclusion was that it is not.

"Justice would best be served," he said, with probation.

Turner, now 20, was a freshman at Stanford and All-American swimmer on Jan. 18, 2015, when two graduate students found him on top of an unresponsive, partly dressed young woman lying behind a Dumpster outside a fraternity house on campus. He pleaded not guilty to the charges he faced and testified during an three-week trial in March that the woman verbally, willingly consented to the sexual activity they engaged in and was conscious throughout. Both were intoxicated at the time and did not know each other previously.

A jury eventually found Turner guilty of three felonies: assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person.

The young woman, Emily Doe, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, remained unconscious and unresponsive until she awoke several hours later at a hospital in San Jose, with no memory of the assault. Now 23, she is a college graduate who did not attend Stanford.

In court on Thursday, Doe read an abbreviated version of a 12-page victim impact statement she submitted to Persky that described in detail the harm Turner inflicted on her, which she called "irreversible."

"Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment," she said. "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."

She urged Persky to deny Turner probation and send him to state prison, arguing that "the fact that Brock was a star athlete at a prestigious university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a strong cultural message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class."

In a short statement, Turner apologized for the "pain" he caused Doe, her family and friends. The entire ordeal, he said, "makes me want to live the rest of my life to change it." He said he wants to teach and educate college students on the dangers of alcohol.

His father, Dan Turner, said Turner has expressed "true remorse."

Describing his son's academic and athletic achievements from a young age through his acceptance to Stanford, his father told Persky: "His life will never be the one he dreamed about."

He, too, said his son is "totally committed to educating others on the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity" in order to help "break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results."

Turner was remanded following the sentencing. He will have to register as a sex offender for life, complete a sex-offender management program and not consume alcohol, among other terms of his probation.

Turner plans to appeal his conviction. Dennis Riordan, a well-known San Francisco appellate attorney, was in court on Thursday and will represent Turner in the appeal.

Turner appeared in court with his parents, brother and sister, who hugged following Persky's decision.

Doe quickly left the courtroom with her parents, sister, boyfriend and friends, including one who had testified on her behalf during the trial.

Persky's sentencing followed a recommendation made by the county probation department to make an exception and find unusual circumstances in this case given various factors, including that Turner is young, has no significant criminal record and expressed remorse for his actions.

Turner's attorney, Michael Armstrong, had requested in a presentencing memo that Turner receive a four-month sentence in county jail and three to five years of probation. Turner is a "fundamentally good young man from a good family" who "made bad choices during his time at Stanford of about four months, especially related to alcohol," Armstrong wrote.

Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci, by contrast, argued in her presentencing memo that Turner's actions that evening on campus were "more akin to a predator who is searching for prey."

She urged Persky to sentence Turner to six years in state prison, noting the "global ramifications" the case could have on Stanford and other college campuses across the nation where students and administrators are working to respond to sexual violence.

On Stanford's campus this week, more than 250 students signed a petition calling for a minimum two-year prison sentence for Turner, while one student urged leniency in an opinion piece published in student newspaper the Stanford Daily.

In statement given following the sentencing, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen called the sentence "unjust" and inappropriate given the seriousness of the crime.

"Ultimately, the fact that the defendant preyed upon an intoxicated stranger on a college campus should not be viewed as less serious than if he assaulted an intoxicated stranger in downtown Palo Alto," he said.

"Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape," he added. "Rape is rape. We will prosecute it the same."

Rosen noted that with credit for good behavior, Turner will be released from jail in three months.

The district attorney's office is organizing a symposium on campus sexual assault with leaders from Santa Clara County college and universities, including Stanford, for this fall. Rosen said he met just last week with some of these leaders and hopes the case will "still have some positive resonance."

"We will soon, I hope, come out with real reforms and a shared resolve to make our college campuses safer," Rosen said Thursday.

Read Emily Doe's full victim impact statement, released by the district attorney's office, here.

Read Brock Turner's full written statement here and his father's, here.

---

The Palo Alto Weekly has created Storify pages to capture ongoing coverage of the Brock Turner case as well as sexual-assault issues at Stanford University. To view them, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

147 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Turner apologized to the victim for his crime against her, then he slaps her in the face by appealing his conviction. Remorse? Yeah, right.


11 people like this
Posted by Oscar
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2016 at 5:04 pm

[Post removed.]


110 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 2, 2016 at 5:12 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

As always, jocks get away with everything. This sentence is absolutely ridiculous, even grotesque, and would provide no deterrent to other jocks with similar attitudes toward women.


102 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm

"He said he wants to teach and educate college students on the dangers of alcohol."

I'm surprised he didn't find Jesus after being found guilty. It happens all the time.

It'll be interesting to see what school he ends up attending after getting out of jail. being a registered sex offender for the rest of his life should have some bearing on being accepted to any school.

Get well Emily Doe and live life to its fullest. You deserve it.


3 people like this
Posted by @Oscar
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:58 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


6 people like this
Posted by Carla
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2016 at 7:22 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by @Carla
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced post.]


123 people like this
Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Unbelievable is a registered user.

Totally inappropriate sentence; the punishment does not even begin to fit the crime! Ten years in a real prison is more appropriate for this criminal.


16 people like this
Posted by HoSV
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

HoSV is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


72 people like this
Posted by Glenn
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 3, 2016 at 9:53 am

Glenn is a registered user.

I don't know if all of you remember Greg Sako of Menlo Park who attended OSU. Similar circumstances and Greg was sentenced to eight and 1/2 years in state prison versus Brock receives 3 months with good behavior. Both students came from good families. Both students were of similar character.

The only difference I can see is that the Brock family probably has more $ at their disposal than the Sako's and can afford the best legal defense which in this case probably ran the Brock family in excess of $ 250K which was money well worth spent.

It does not quite seem right that $ can possibly by you such a reduction. I think this is a sad reality that happens quite frequently in our justice system. Do you realize that 95 percent of people incarcerated are in on plea deals and most likely did not have the $ available to go to trial and possibly be exonerated.


9 people like this
Posted by Samantha
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 3, 2016 at 10:30 am

Samantha is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


84 people like this
Posted by cid
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2016 at 12:40 pm

cid is a registered user.

I can't even begin to imagine the horror of being raped behind a frat house dumpster, drunk or not. I don't care that a Stanford Athlete from a wealthy family was the perpetrator, it is still wrong.

as quoted in the article, the sentence should "send a strong cultural message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of"....ANYTHING.

But what kind of a message does the light sentence Judge Persky handed the athlete send? What is is wrong with the man that he was quotes as saying ""Justice would best be served," he said, with probation."

If only he could have walked in the young woman's shoes....... he might have a different perspective.


82 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

This sentence is so outrageous, it's practically an exoneration of Brock. The judge basically said: I don't think you have done anything wrong, but because of public pressure, I'll give you the lightest sentence I can get away with. This is nothing but a wink and to future jock sexual predators on college, particularly THIS college. This sentence should be sufficient for a recall campaign against this judge, who completely betrayed his calling.


11 people like this
Posted by Not A Palo Alto Native
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2016 at 9:57 am

Not A Palo Alto Native is a registered user.

@Glen

Sako was convicted of rape, whereas Turner was convicted of sexual assault. Both acts are unforgivable, but the legal consequences are different.

So, it not JUST the wealth of the family, but the criminal charge severity, too.

Brock Turner: Appeal? On what legal grounds? We've spent enough tax dollars and resources on this case.


2 people like this
Posted by Robert simon
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 4, 2016 at 11:25 am

Robert simon is a registered user.

[Post removed.]








.


3 people like this
Posted by kcbrands
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

kcbrands is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


56 people like this
Posted by kcbrands
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm

kcbrands is a registered user.

Aaron Persky, the judge, is up for re-election. Hopefully this story goes viral and people make the right choice. He doesn't deserve to be there if he can't do his job. This kid should be locked up a minimum of at least a year maybe two. What a slap in her face that the judge feels more sorry for the person who committed the crime. [Portion removed.]


57 people like this
Posted by NunyaBusiness
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm

NunyaBusiness is a registered user.

Disgusting. Another judge affected by the Affluenza defense. Rich white kid [portion removed] an unconscious girl and people throw their hands up proclaiming that he didn't mean it and he has a promising future, wonder if they would say the same thing if it was their daughter behind that dumpster. The only silver lining is that this rapist will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


19 people like this
Posted by maddy
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 5, 2016 at 8:20 am

maddy is a registered user.

How is this the sole responsibility of just the young man? [Portion removed.] Where is the accountability of her actions?


42 people like this
Posted by Lizzie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2016 at 9:01 am

Lizzie is a registered user.

@maddy

I think that you haven't learned the definition of consent.


25 people like this
Posted by Lizzie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2016 at 9:05 am

Lizzie is a registered user.

@Not A Palo Alto Native

You don't think that Turner's race, position, wealth, and status had nothing to do with the [portion removed] indictment? It's all part and parcel of the bias that led to a ridiculous sentence.

[Portion removed.]


51 people like this
Posted by kcbrands
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2016 at 9:39 am

kcbrands is a registered user.

@maddie

You're right... they both drank. But under no circumstance does that mean that's it's okay [portion removed.] That kid wasn't drunk enough to not haul ass when he was caught. He knew what he was doing was wrong. Drunk or not there's a little thing called consent. Just because I go back to a guys room doesn't mean I'm intending to have sex. Just because you may flirt or dance (I believe this is just his account and not others) doesn't mean that you want to be taken behind a dumpster half conscious and mounted like a dog. There are plenty of drunk sexual interactions out there but if any involve one party who is unable to walk, talk and is literally passing in and out then that means there's no consent and you stop. [Portion removed.]


46 people like this
Posted by JTOMLIN
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2016 at 11:05 am

JTOMLIN is a registered user.

Aaron Persky, the judge in this case, is up for re-election and I strongly urge explaining to him how high the impact can be by seeing that he never has the opportunity to cause another such injustice. Vote him out of office!


34 people like this
Posted by innerpeace
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

innerpeace is a registered user.

If the sexual assault took place in a random park in a random neighborhood, instead of a college campus, the perpetrator might have gone to prison. Rape and sexual assault is a crime that is deliberate and debilitating to another human being. How a person dresses or how much they drank doesn't justify being violated. We don't ask those questions when someone is murdered, yet rape can "kill" a person's hope, trust, security, optimism, and faith in life.

It's a shame that this young man doesn't humble himself, recognize his wrongdoing, understand the devastating effects of what he took from this young lady, and apologize.

The impact statement was powerful. She is an inspiration and a voice for others!


8 people like this
Posted by Chaya
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Chaya is a registered user.

I'm conflicted with the sentencing. Rape occurred, the guy is a scumbag with lots of money but I feel the sentencing was fair. The fact that he is now a registered sex offender will effect his life tremendously. The sex offender program he will attend will educate him and I believe in second chances. This kid is not a psychopath or serial rapist. I have both a son and a daughter so I have thought about this from both sides and I truly believe that it would be a waste of resources to give this kid a long jail sentence when there is more value in having him share his story with other kids and educate them.


36 people like this
Posted by kcbrands
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2016 at 11:40 pm

kcbrands is a registered user.

Web Link

This may do nothing but I signed. His punishment is a slap in the face to every woman and man who has been a victim of sexual assault. It's disgusting that this judge was more worried about the impact it would have on the attacker than what impact it had on the victim. For those who know me know I'm a big talker... and this has truly left me with no words. He is going to get off with a few months served with good behavior. "But he's going to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life" you say? Great. That's the LEAST he could do after robbing someone of so much more for the rest of theirs. The lack of regret and admittance of guilt terrifies me of this young man. He truly feels that he did nothing wrong. Oh, you're going to speak out against drinking and the result of it? How about you speak out as to why you shouldn't [portion removed] an unconscious person? I don't care that he's 20 and "made a mistake." I don't care that he was on the path to the Olympics. He took advantage of a girl, stripped her down, mounted her and violated her. He was too drunk to notice she was passed out, however, he wasn't too drunk to notice the two men calling out to him and hauling ass away from the scene of a crime. His father is calling out and crying because he doesn't eat steak and pretzels like he used to... this woman is living in a state of fear, ashamed of who she is and just learning to rebuild realtionships - both physically and emotionally- and will suffer until the day she dies. [Portion removed.] I know this petition may not do a single thing... but I hope you all sign it anyway and re-post it. His face should go viral. His story should go viral. And her courage should go viral - for all the women and men who were too scared to speak out against their attackers. She did it brilliantly and courageously so. I give her so much respect for doing something so many can't. Her whole life was put into question. Her whole life became a "he said, she said" and no matter how hard it became she fought. She succeeded only to have this judge knock her back down. Please make sure to sign and repost.


32 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"How is this the sole responsibility of just the young man? [Portion removed.] Where is the accountability of her actions?"

OK, let's align this situation with your personal values.

You have imbibed too much at a party and passed out. Another guest relieves you of your wallet, then proceeds to max out your credit cards. You find him out and call the cops, but he claims you consented to his bonanza during your unremembered stupor.

Now, do you just shrug the whole thing off as accountability of your actions, or do you press criminal charges against the SOB?


15 people like this
Posted by sobrevivir
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2016 at 5:25 am

sobrevivir is a registered user.

The sentencing was woefully inadequate for the crime perpetrated. Yet not so many years ago, any punishment would merely be an exercise in judicial theory.

Now I ask what can we do to support the survivor during the process of appeal?

What many people do not understand is that rape is regarded as a crime against the state with the survivor merely being considered to be a witness. Any personal injury is merely collateral damage in the eyes of the court.

As a member of society, I will seek to mitigate any further wounding.


26 people like this
Posted by Prudent Jurist
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2016 at 9:16 am

Prudent Jurist is a registered user.

The case against this judge, Aaron Persky, is going viral all over the country. There are even posts on Change.org calling for his recall.

Outrage against Brock Turner, and his father's unbelievable plea to have his son's sentence reduced FURTHER have also gone global. Posts showing Brock Turner's Opie-like face are showing up on Facebook, alongside calls for a mistrial.


23 people like this
Posted by Prudent Jurist
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2016 at 9:16 am

Prudent Jurist is a registered user.

The case against this judge, Aaron Persky, is going viral all over the country. There are even posts on Change.org calling for his recall.

Outrage against Brock Turner, and his father's unbelievable plea to have his son's sentence reduced FURTHER have also gone global. Posts showing Brock Turner's Opie-like face are showing up on Facebook, alongside calls for a mistrial.


5 people like this
Posted by Tang
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 6, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Tang is a registered user.

"would you like a cup of tea?"

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Tang
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Tang is a registered user.

Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by Chaya
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Chaya is a registered user.

I'm now thinking twice about my agreement of the sentencing after just reading the defendant's father's statement about how Brock is suffering as much as the victim as the family has witnessed by his disinterest in eating ribeye steaks. I don't think this family has learned one thing. They are in a complete state of denial.


8 people like this
Posted by DeanO
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 7, 2016 at 12:48 am

DeanO is a registered user.

I swear, he BETTER do the full six months. This sentence is mind blowing and ridiculous. Also, quit glorifying him as an all-star athlete. This is a rape case, not a sports article. The only one who cares about that is the legal system dealing with his wealthy family. PATHETIC.


4 people like this
Posted by marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm

marie is a registered user.

I'd like to know more about the sex prevention program he'll be required to attend. Does a program like this really do any good? Or just smoke and mirrors? Anyone have any info on these types of programs?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


To post your comment, please login or register at the top of the page. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Cherries and Berries
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 915 views

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 374 views

Meeting Other New Parents
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 346 views

 

One more week to vote!

Don't forget to cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly.

VOTE HERE