The father of an athlete convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on a university campus has argued his six-month jail term is “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
Brock Turner, 20, was sentenced to six months in county jail and three years probation after the woman who was assaulted read the court an emotional statement that has gone viral.
Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer, and his victim had both attended a fraternity party on the night of the attack, the Associated Press writes.
Many have decried his short sentence as a slap on the wrist, though his father, Dan Turner, called on Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky to grant his son probation.
In a statement from the probation pre-sentencing report tweeted by Michele Dauber, Mr Turner complained his son had lost his appetite and that his life had “been deeply altered forever."
He added: “These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve.
“That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life… What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock.”
Turner must also complete a sex offender management program and register as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life.
In her statement, the woman described how the attack left her emotionally scarred.
"My independence, natural joy, gentleness, and steady lifestyle I had been enjoying became distorted beyond recognition. I became closed off, angry, self-deprecating, tired, irritable, empty," she said.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen said he was disappointed with the judge's sentence.
"The punishment does not fit the crime," Rosen said in a statement after the sentence was announced on Thursday.
"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."
A jury in March found Turner guilty of three felony sexual assault counts for the January 2015 attack, which was interrupted by two graduate students who saw him assaulting a partially clothed woman behind a rubbish bin. Turner tried to flee, but the students tackled and pinned him down until police arrived and arrested him.
Turner had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The three-time All American high school swimmer from Dayton, Ohio, withdrew from Stanford after his arrest.
The woman, who was not a student, told investigators she drank about four shot glasses of whisky before going to the fraternity party, and then drank vodka there. The next thing she said she remembered was waking up at a hospital in San Jose, where a deputy told her she may have been a victim of sexual assault.
"I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don't want my body anymore. I was terrified of it," the woman wrote in a letter to Turner and Judge Persky that she read in the courtroom during the sentencing. "I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else."
In an editorial, the San Jose Mercury News called the six-month county jail sentence "a slap on the wrist."
"Brock Turner's six-month jail term for sexual assault of an intoxicated, unconscious woman on the Stanford campus last year is a setback for the movement to take campus rape seriously," the newspaper said.
"If Turner's slap on the wrist sentence is a setback, activists can take some comfort that the jurors at the trial in March saw what happened as a very serious crime."
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