(CBS SF) — The judge under fire for the lenient sentence issued to a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault has also received a torrent of threatening calls at the courthouse.
Judge Aaron Persky issued a six-month sentence to Brock Turner for the assault of a woman outside a fraternity party. Prosecutors had sought a six-year prison term. Turner will likely only serve three months with good behavior.READ MORE: Smash-And-Grab Thieves Hit San Jose Eastridge Mall Jewelry Store; 5 Sought
Gary Goodman, a supervising attorney for the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office, said people are calling Persky’s courtroom to leave threats and disturbing messages. “I hope you die and your family gets raped, things of that nature,” Goodman told NBC News. “You’ve got to be out of your mind to talk that way.”
“The fact that people are calling his courtroom and threatening him and his family, hoping that he dies badly… I mean that’s just ridiculous,” Goodman told CBS News.
The sexual assault case became known worldwide after BuzzFeed News published the victim’s eloquent and emotional courtroom statement describing the assault and the lasting effects on her, and in which she addressed Turner directly.
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In a probation report obtained by CBS News, Turner pologized to his victim in a statement to the court and expressed remorse for his actions, saying: “I would give anything to change what happened that night … I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decisions hurt someone.”
The rape victim in Turner’s case said in an interview for the probation report last month that she was inclined to forgiveness.READ MORE: Investigation Finds Vallejo Officer's Use of Deadly Force Not 'Reasonable'
“I want him to be punished, but as a human, I just want him to get better, the victim said. He doesn’t need to be behind bars.”
But she seemed to have a change of mind after reading the probation report, saying in a statement on Turner’s sentencing day, “The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is an insult to me and all women. After reading the defendant’s report, I am severely disappointed and feel that he has failed to exhibit sincere remorse.”
LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge and KPIX 5 legal analyst, believes Judge Persky already made up his mind before hearing the victim’s statement.
“A judge can be influenced by what it is the victim wants, but it just kind of rarely happens,” explained Cordell. “In most cases, judges have pretty much made up their minds before they even start to hear the case because they’ve reviewed the file they’ve seen the probation report and they pretty much know what they’re going to do.”
Persky, who ran unapposed in the California Primary Tuesday, is now the subject of a recall effort. An online petition to remove Persky from the bench has generated more than 600,000 signatures.
Goodman told CBS News he knows Persky well and said he doesn’t deserve the backlash he’s receiving.
A protest against Persky and Turner’s sentence was being planned for Stanford’s commencement ceremonies Sunday, according to the Stanford Daily.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Lights Up GG Park Christmas Tree After Darkest Year of Pandemic