(CBS SF) — A childhood friend of the former Stanford swimming star convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in January blames the verdict onthe need to be “politically correct.”

The six-month jail sentence received by Brock Turner for the assault on an unconscious woman has generated a huge outcry and the case has gained a worldwide following. An online petition is demanding the removal of the judge in the case.

The Cut reported one of the letters received by Judge Aaron Persky ahead of Turner’s sentencing was from childhood friend Leslie Rasmussen, who called the incident “a huge misunderstanding.”

“Brock is not a monster. He is the furthest thing from anything like that, and I have known him much longer than the people involved in this case. I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him. I am not blaming her directly for this, because that isn’t right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists. It is because these universities market themselves as the biggest party schools in the country. They encourage drinking. I think it is digusting and I am so sick of hearing that these young men are monsters when really, you are throwing barely 20-somethings into these camp-like university environments, supporting partying, and then your mind is blown when things get out of hand. This is completely different from a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot. That is a rapist. These are not rapists. These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgement. [sic]”

Other letters of support, including one from Turner’s father bemoaning his son’s “steep price” for “20 minutes of action,” were submitted before Judge Persky sentenced Brock to six months in jail. Prosecutors had recommended a six-year prison term.

The victim’s own emotional letter to the judge has prompted an outpouring of support and renewed focus on campus sexual assault.

ALSO READ: Student Who Stopped Sexual Assault By Ex-Stanford Swimmer Recounts Attack

 

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