While this is not a case of human trafficking or exploitation, the sentence shows the reluctance by many judges to see the seriousness of sexual assault, whether in the case of a single rape or on a continuous basis when a victim is being trafficked and exploited. When reading the statement by the victim (see below), it shows that sexual assault is having serious consequences on the victim’s life.
A former Stanford student was sentenced to six months in Santa Clara County jail (California, US) on June 2 for sexually assaulting an unconscious and intoxicated woman last year.
The Honorable Aaron Persky gave the sentence after hearing from both Brock Turner, 20, and his victim.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen expressed disappointment that the judge did not sentence Turner to prison.
“The punishment does not fit the crime,” the District Attorney said. “The predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth. The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim’s ongoing trauma. Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape. And I will prosecute it as such.”
The sentence follows a trial and a jury’s verdict in late March that found Turner guilty of three felony charges: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person.
After midnight, on January 18, 2015, Turner was seen by two witnesses sexually assaulting the unconscious victim, who was lying on the ground behind a dumpster on Stanford campus. When they called out, Turner ran away. The two tackled him and held him until police officers arrived. Evidence showed that the victim was so heavily intoxicated that she did not regain consciousness until hours later.
In reading a victim impact statement in court, the victim said: “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today. The damage is done, no one can undo it. And now we both have a choice. We can let this destroy us, I can remain angry and hurt and you can be in denial, or we can face it head on, I accept the pain, you accept the punishment, and we move on.”
In her statement she also wrote to other sexual assault victims: “On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you.”
You may view the entire statement at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/da/newsroom/newsreleases/Documents/B-Turner%20VIS.pdf (Warning: Graphic Language)
Turner, who was remanded right after his sentencing, is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.