A childhood friend of an athlete convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on a university campus has vehemently protested his innocence.
Last week, former Stanford University student Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail and three years probation after he was convicted of three felony sexual assault charges for attacking the woman in January 2015.
The attack was interrupted by two graduate students who tackled Turner and pinned him down when the Olympic swimming hopeful tried to flee.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky said Turner’s age and lack of criminal record justified what many are calling a too lenient sentence.
“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Judge Persky said, adding: “I think he will not be a danger to others.”
Now a letter from Turner’s friend Leslie Rasmussen to Judge Persky ahead of sentencing has been revealed.
It argues Turner isn’t a rapist because “he was always the sweetest to everyone” and brands the whole event “a huge misunderstanding”.
A screenshot of the second half of the letter, was tweeted by Michele Dauber (scroll down to read the full text.)
Rasmussen adds: “I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.
“I am not blaming her directly for this, because that isn’t right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists.”
Rasmussen’s letter has been greeted with similar disbelief as a statement from Turners father, which argued his son was paying too steep a price “for 20 minutes of action.”
Meanwhile, an impact statement from his victim, which was read out in court and details her emotional scars, has gone viral.
It also comes as the formal mugshots of Turner were eventually released – after uproar that the only images to accompany the sentence featured him smiling in a yearbook photo.
Stanford University also issued a statement claiming it did not have the authority to release mugshots – with that honour finally falling to the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office.
The second half of Rasmussen’s letter in full.
Brock is not a monster. He is the furthest thing from anything like that, and I have known him much longer than the people involved in his case.
I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.
I am not blaming her directly for this because that isn’t right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists.
It is because these universities market themselves as the biggest party schools in the country. They encourage drinking. I think it is disgusting and I am so sick of hearing that these young men are monsters when really, you are throwing barely 20-somethings into these camp-like university environments, supporting partying, and then your mind is blown when things get out of hand.
This is completely different from a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot. This is a rapist. These are not rapists. These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgement. I’m not saying that is every case because I know there are young men that take advantage of young women and vice versa, but I know for a fact that Brock is not one of these people. He is respectful and caring, talented and smart enough to know better.
Attached is a photo of Brock I took in high school. He has always had that huge, loving smile on his face. The caption is even ‘d’awwww’ because he was always the sweetest to everyone.
I appreciate you taking your time to hear about my past with Brock and my opinion on the matter, and I hope you consider what I’ve said when looking into the sentencing. I would not be writing this letter if I had any doubt in my mind that he is innocent.
Thank you again,