Everything You Need to Know About the Brock Turner Rape Trial
If you’ve gone on social media in the past day, you’ve probably noticed people are irate that Brock Turner, a college student found guilty of assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, was only sentenced six months in jail last week — and the details are only getting worse.
For one thing, the judge picked the absurdly short sentence time because “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on Turner, a champion swimmer at Stanford whose goal was to compete in the Olympics, according to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.
Isn’t that what jail is for? Punishing criminals? Yeah, that’s what we thought, too, but apparently the rules are different when you’re a white dude who’s on the road to becoming an Olympic-qualifying swimmer.
But let’s start at the beginning: the crime took place in January 2015, when Brock met the then-22-year-old victim, whose identity hasn’t been made public. The two were drunk at a frat party and reportedly did not know each other prior to that night. The victim said that Brock was hitting on her sister, but was pushing him away. The victim became so drunk that she blacked out, according to The Guardian. Turner was later found by two grad students while he was sexually assaulting the girl, who was lying on the ground unconscious behind a Dumpster on the Stanford campus.
The victim was then taken to the hospital and woke up to find out that she had been sexually assaulted while unconscious.
During the trial, Turner said that it was her fault was drinking and that she did give consent, implying that she’s the one to blame for the entire event. He also stated that he had no knowledge of even her being unconscious and that should not make him the one at fault.
The maximum sentence Turner could have received was 14 years in state prison. And he required a special change in the sentencing rules to get his sentence this low — “an assignment which required the judge to grant an exception to the minimum two-year sentence for convicted rapists,” Buzzfeed reports.
The victim wrote a letter and read it in front of Turner last Thursday. She decided to share it with BuzzFeed in the hope of bringing more awareness to campus rape and providing support to others who have experienced similar events.
“I could not imagine my family having to read about this online,” she wrote. “I kept reading [court documents about the case]. In the next paragraph, I read something that I will never forgive; I read that according to him, I liked it. I liked it. Again, I do not have words for these feelings.”
Her letter also says, “I was not only told that I was assaulted, I was told that because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted.”
To make matters worse, Turner’s father wrote in a character testimony which was submitted to the courts that the sentence was “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” Yes, he referred to his son’s rape of an unconscious person as “20 minutes of action.”
He also detailed his son’s high GPA, athletic ability, and the “devastating impact” the case had on him — including an inability to enjoy the steak he once loved because he was so traumatized. We’re not making this up! Here’s what the dad wrote:
“I was always excited to buy him a big ribeye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him. I had to make sure to hide some of my favorite pretzels or chips because I knew they wouldn’t be around long after Brock walked in from a long swim practice. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist.”
Awww, Brock. We’ll take your ribeye!
Many have tweeted their outrage and shared it on Facebook, calling for a change to the sentencing. This petition has amassed nearly 25,000 signatures to have Judge Persky recalled as he is running unopposed for a seat in the Superior Court of California.
Does #BrockTurner even HAVE a damn mug shot?
Somehow the news can find mug shots for black shooting VICTIMS, but none for a white rapist
— 5’7 Black Male (@absurdistwords) June 6, 2016
After his conviction for rape & considerable media pressure… Finally, #BrockTurner mug shot is released. #NBCNews pic.twitter.com/saXN36WgaZ
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) June 6, 2016
People are pointing out the difference in treatment when an alleged criminal is white instead of black. Turner’s mugshot had not been released to the public until today, creating yet another source of public outrage at the seemingly special treatment of Brock.