Brock Turner, the 21-year-old former Stanford swimmer convicted on three counts of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a fraternity house in January of 2015, was released from jail Friday morning after serving just three months of his six-month sentence. It is reportedly not uncommon for the Santa Clara County Jail to release prisoners early for good behavior.
Turner withdrew from school and will serve three years of probation for the crime. He will also be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life, complete a sex offender management program, and be subject to random drug and alcohol tests.
Critics of Turner's short sentence--the maximum sentence was 14 years--say it's yet another example of how sex offenders receive disproportionately light punishments for their crimes. The judge on Turner's case, Aaron Persky, reportedly received death threats after he handed down Turner's sentence in early June; hundreds of thousands of signatories have supported a petition to recall Persky, and he later voluntarily removed himself from hearing criminal cases.
Persky said he gave Turner the six-month sentence because anything longer would have "a severe impact on him."
During Turner's June sentencing, the survivor of the assault recounted the emotional distress he caused her; after BuzzFeed published the address in full, Joe Biden wrote her an open letter, calling her bravery "breathtaking," and "a warrior, with a solid steel spine."
"You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today," the survivor began her statement. "I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. [...] A deputy explained I had been assaulted."
She told the courtroom of pulling pine needles out of her hair, of discovering in the hospital bathroom that she wasn't wearing any underwear--and how she "still doesn't have words for that feeling." She found out the details of what had happened to her by reading an article at work.
"My brain was talking my gut into not collapsing. Because my gut was saying, help me, help me," she said.
I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs. I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions.
After a few hours of this, they let me shower. 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, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else. [...]
I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize.
Turner's light sentencing inspired California lawmakers to pass a bill last month that will close a loophole in rape sentencing cases, enforcing mandatory prison time for rapists who use additional physical force and commit assaults when victims are unconscious and unable to properly give consent.
This story is developing.