California judge Aaron Persky has been scorned for sentencing former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to a six-month prison term with three years probation for the sexual assault and rape of an unconscious woman, when prosecutors requested for Turner to face up to six years in federal prison.
The short sentence is a result of two letters Persky had received, one descriptive outcry from the victim, and one pleading beg from Turner’s father, who stated that a six-year sentence would be a “steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
According to CNN, “Turner’s age and lack of criminal history made [Judge Persky] feel that imposing a six-month jail sentence with probation was appropriate.”
Judge Persky has justified his sentencing with his concern for Turner, believing that a sentence longer than six months would have a “severe impact on him,” affecting his swimming career.
The victim, who has only identified herself to the public as Emily Doe, wrote a powerful statement in regards to Judge Persky’s decision.
“While you worry about your shattered reputation, I refrigerated spoons every night so when I woke up, and my eyes were puffy from crying,” she wrote, “I would hold the spoons to my eyes to lessen the swelling so that I could see.”
Turner, 20, has claimed that his victim had given him consent. According to USA Today,Turner could have faced “more than a decade in prison on the charges — assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person.”
The controversial case has caused controversy amongst Staples students, especially those involved in the Gender Equality Club.
However, club member Carolynn van Arsdale ’16 mentions how her views have shifted on the case. “After hearing the background information I realized why the judge created a shorter sentence for the athlete; however, that doesn’t mean that it was the right sentence,” Arsdale said. “I’m still extremely upset at how minimal this discussion of rape on college campuses is in our country and how colleges aren’t doing enough to expose the attackers and help victims.”
Still, it seems that the overall stance on the case at Staples is negative.
“This type of mindset is terrifying but only a result of the culture we have in this country where if you are rich enough, white enough, or athletic enough you will be let off easy,” Monique Ostbye ’18 said. “This culture needs to end now, firstly by changing the way we see rape, rapists, and victims.”
A petition has been made to recall Judge Persky in hopes of bringing justice to the victim and her family.