Stoic in court

Won’t somebody please think of the rapists? At least the white, handsome, star athlete ones?

A former Stanford University athlete convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman was sentenced to six months in county jail and probation in a case that has shed light on what advocates say is an epidemic of violence on college campuses.

Brock Allen Turner, a 20-year-old swimmer who dropped out of the elite California university last year, appeared stoic in court in Palo Alto on Thursday, two months after a jury convicted him of multiple felonies, including assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman.

Turner, who is from Dayton, Ohio, was arrested on the Palo Alto campus on 18 January 2015 after two Stanford graduate students spotted him lying on top of the victim outside of a Kappa Alpha party behind a dumpster. When officers arrived, the woman, who is not a Stanford student, was “completely unresponsive” and partially clothed, with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to police.

She was resting. She was unresponsive because she was thinking about something. And resting.

The two witnesses who were biking past that evening said they saw Turner “thrusting” on top of the motionless woman and that they intervened and held him until police showed up.

Turner, who had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, testified in court that he could walk and talk at the time and acknowledged that the victim was “very drunk”. He claimed that he did not intend to rape the woman and that the encounter was consensual.

Sadly for Turner, the victim doesn’t agree that the “encounter” was consensual.

After a jury convicted Turner of sexually penetrating an intoxicated and unconscious person with a foreign object, prosecutors asked a judge to sentence him to six years in California prison. Probation officials had recommended the significantly lighter penalty of six months in county jail, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The judge, Aaron Perksy, cited Turner’s age and lack of criminal history as factors in his decision, saying, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him … I think he will not be a danger to others.”

After the hearing, Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen slammed the sentencing, which will likely result in Turner spending three months behind bars – a fraction of the maximum 14 years he was potentially facing.

Yes but he’s an athlete. He was at Stanford. He’s white. Each item is worth several years off his sentence.

The high-profile case intensified scrutiny of rapes at US colleges and comes at a time when national leaders and activists across the country have increasingly raised alarms about the culture of sexual violence on university campuses.

A recent White House survey found that 10% of female college students experience some form of sexual assault and that only 12.5% of rapes are reported.

Turner’s case attracted significant attention in part because criminal prosecutions of campus rape cases are rare. In recent years, there have also been growing concerns about the ways in which universities protect athletes accused of sexual assault.

But athletes are the whole point of universities. Of course universities protect them…male athletes, at least.

14 Responses to “Stoic in court”