The sentencing of former Stanford University swimmer Brock A. Turner to a six-month jail term for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has sparked widespread outrage.
Turner was convicted of three felonies in March for the assault of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster after a party at the Kappa Alpha fraternity house. His sentence: six months in jail and three years probation. The public instantly flew into a tizzy, denouncing the judge for his leniency, and eventually starting a petition for his recall.
And that’s not all; here are the case’s eight most amazing details.
1.) The attack ended thanks to the intervention of two do-gooder Swedes
The attack ended when two Swedish graduate students, who were passing by on bikes, saw Turner behind a dumpster, atop the victim. “We can see that she isn’t moving at all but he is moving a lot. So we stop and think that there is something strange going on,” Carl-Fredrik Arndt told the Swedish outlet Expression. Arndt and fellow grad Peter Jonsson pinned Turner to the ground and held him until authorities arrived.
At sentencing, Turner’s victim, known only as “Emily Doe” read a moving statement to the court and expressed sincere gratitude to the Swedish good-Samaritans. “Most importantly, thank you to the two men who saved me, who I have yet to meet,” she said. “I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story, that we are looking out for one another.”
2.) The victim first received a full account of the assault when she read about it in the news.
“One day, I was at work, scrolling through the news on my phone, and came across an article,” she said in the statement. “In it, 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. This was how I learned what happened to me, sitting at my desk reading the news at work.”
3.) Turner kissed his victim’s sister earlier in the evening, before accosting his victim.
The young Turner was working the room at the Kappa Alpha party before he first approached the victim. He even kissed the victim’s sister early in the evening. “He admitted to kissing other girls at that party, one of whom was my own sister who pushed him away,” she said in her statement to the court. She went on to wonder what exactly kissing meant in this context, wondering “I wonder if kissing was just faces sloppily pressed up against each other?”
4.) Emily Doe’s testimony has been shared 12 million times. Here’s one impactful part in which she comments on the idea she “wanted” the assault.
“According to him, the only reason we were on the ground was because I fell down,” she said in the statement. “Note; if a girl falls help her get back up. If she is too drunk to even walk and falls, do not mount her, hump her, take off her underwear, and insert your hand inside her vagina. If a girl falls help her up. If she is wearing a cardigan over her dress don’t take it off so that you can touch her breasts. Maybe she is cold, maybe that’s why she wore the cardigan. If her bare ass and legs are rubbing the pinecones and needles, while the weight of you pushes into her, get off her.”
5.) In a letter to the case’s judge, Turner’s father characterized the assault as “20 minutes of action.”
Turner’s father, Dan, wrote a letter to the case’s judge pleading leniency for his son. In the letter, he argues his son’s future prospects have been permanently tarnished by the conviction, such that a jail sentence would be draconian. He writes “This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
6.) He also lamented that events since the attack have made his son lose his appetite for “big ribeye steaks.”
“I was always excited to buy him a big ribeye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him,” Turner the elder wrote. “Now he barely consumes and food and eats only to exist.”
7.) One edited version of Dan Turner’s letter did spectacularly well on Twitter.
Twitter user Alexandra Ozeri published an edited version of Dan Turner’s letter, inserting her own annotations reflecting the implications Turner senior simply glossed over. As of Wednesday, she was approaching 20,000 retweets.
8.) The judge in the case is facing a recall petition.
A Change.org petition to remove Judge Aaron Persky, who presided over the trial and handed down the sentence widely panned as lenient, from the bench has garnered over 300,000 signatures. California law provides three methods for the removal of sitting judges. A judge may be impeached and removed by the California legislature, recalled by the voters in a special election, or sanctioned and removed by the California Commission on Judicial Performance.
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