PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A former Stanford University swimmer who was convicted in late March of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in front of a fraternity party was sentenced Thursday to six months in county jail and probation.
Brock Allen Turner, 20, faced a maximum 14 years in state prison. Prosecutors had recommended a six-year term.
Turner is expected to serve three months with good behavior. He will have to register as a sex offender for life and complete a sex offender management program.
In a powerful victim impact statement, the young woman Turner assaulted told the court she should not be viewed as “a drunk victim discarded behind a dumpster” nor should the scales of justice be tipped in favor of “the all-American swimmer.”
A light sentence, she said, would make a “mockery of the seriousness of his assaults.”
The judge said he took into consideration Turner’s age and the fact that he’d never been convicted of a serious crime before.
The case has become a flash point in what advocates have called an epidemic of violence against women on college campuses.
Turner, who dropped out of Stanford last year, appeared emotionless during the judge’s sentencing in a Palo Alto courtroom on Thursday. On March 30th, a Santa Clara County jury found Turner guilty on three charges of sexual assault.
Despite his boyish looks, prosecutors have described Turner as the “quintessential face of campus sexual assault” and jurors agreed.
Turner, who had ambitions of competing in the 2016 Olympics, was accused of attempted sexual assault as well as the penetration of a woman who was either unconscious or too drunk to consent to sex.
The alleged incident happened after a night of heavy drinking at a campus fraternity party.
Turner has admitted to sexually fondling the woman after consuming nine alcoholic drinks at an on-campus fraternity party on January 18, 2015, but denied raping her, according to a report from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
Police and prosecutors say the victim had three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when the assault occurred – that she was blackout drunk and unable to agree to sex. Turner’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
Turner took the stand in his own defense and said he could walk and talk normally. He testified that the young woman agreed to go back to his dorm room.
He also claimed that she was a willing participant in the admittedly drunk and sloppy sexual encounter that happened in the bushes outside the fraternity party.
The jury decided that Turner was involved in something far more criminal than a drunken college hook-up.
However, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said the punishment did not fit the crime. “This predator failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth,” said Rosen.
Following Thursday’s sentencing in which Turner was immediately remanded into custody, even his defense attorney acknowledged many people wouldn’t be happy with the judge’s decision.
“If my daughter was the victim of this, I’d be livid. I’d be furious,” said attorney Mike Armstrong. “I’d be asking for a very serious punishment.”