The father of Brock Turner, the ex-Stanford swimmer who was given a paltry six-month sentence in a county jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015, is defending his son’s crime—and saying that he should not be imprisoned for only getting “20 minutes of action.”
In a letter Dan Turner penned as a diametric opposition to his son’s sentencing—which, in effect, became an indirect defense of his son’s actions—the father of the convicted 20-year-old rapist argued that his son is “not violent.” Pointedly, he barely addressed the nature of his son’s crime, and instead focused on how the life of the former swimmer (and at one point a projected future Olympian) “has been deeply altered forever,” and that he will “never be his happy go lucky self [sic]” again.
The letter was posted to Twitter by Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford and one of the driving forces behind the university’s new policies concerning punitive measures in regards to sexual assault on campus. Dauber highlighted the part of the letter in which the elder Turner argued that his son should not be held accountable for the “steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” despite the fact that his “not violent” son was charged with committing an innately violent offense and convicted of that crime last March.
Turner’s letter comes only days after his son was given what many have described as a highly lenient sentence for sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster outside of a Stanford fraternity house. At the time, Turner was intoxicated and she was unconscious, which meant that she could not legally give consent. The woman who Turner attacked read her own letter to her assailant, elucidating how his actions had damaged her emotionally.
“My independence, natural joy, gentleness, and steady lifestyle I had been enjoying became distorted beyond recognition,” she said. “I became closed off, angry, self-deprecating, tired, irritable, empty.”
She also described the traumatic experience of having her sex life and sexual history dissected by authorities, and pleaded that Turner be handed a “proper punishment” for his crime.
After Turner was handed his sentence, which included a three year probationary period, District Attorney Jeff Rosen expressed his dismay over the soft punitive measures taken.
“The punishment does not fit the crime,” he said in an official statement, which the DA read after the sentence was issued. “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.”
Update (6/6/16, 6:45 p.m.): This post originally stated that the survivor of Turner’s attack was a fellow student at Stanford. She was visiting the area, but was not affiliated with the school.
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