The father of the Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman is coming under fire on blogs and social media for playing down the attack as “20 minutes of action” during a public statement at the swimmer’s sentencing on Sunday.
Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Brock Allen Turner to a six-month prison sentence, is also getting some heat after Persky said “jail would have a severe impact on” Turner.
Turner, 20, was found by two students on top of an unconscious woman by a dumpster in January 2015. Prosecutors said Turner met the woman at a party and sexually assaulted her after she passed out from intoxication. Police officers said the woman was unresponsive and partially clothed.
Turner faced up to 14 years in prison, a sentence his father, Dan Turner, argued against.
“That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” Dan said at his son’s sentencing hearing.
Persky cited Turner’s youth and lack of criminal record as part of his reasoning for imposing the six-month sentence.
“I think he will not be a danger to others,” Persky said.
The woman Turner assaulted had much stronger words for the former swimming star when she read her victim impact statement in court prior to Turner’s sentencing.
“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today,” the 23-year-old woman said, The Washington Post reported.
“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 a statement released Monday, Stanford University called the sexual assault a “horrible incident” and said it “did everything within its power to assure that justice was served in this case, including an immediate police investigation and referral to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office for a successful prosecution.”
“Stanford urges its students to do the right thing and intervene and we are proud of our students for stopping this incident. Many other student witnesses cooperated in the investigation,” the university said.
Stanford said Turner was banned from campus less than two weeks after the incident, “the harshest sanction that a university can impose on a student.”