A former Stanford University athlete who was convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster received a six month prison sentence, instead of the six years prosecutors asked for, and will be released in a few weeks.
Brock Allen Turner, 20, was convicted of sexually penetrating a woman who was drunk and unconscious with a foreign object. While prosecutors sought to put Turner behind bars for more than six years, Judge Aaron Perksy gave him six months in a county jail to avoid "being unnecessarily harsh," according to BoingBoing. Attorneys cited the ex-swimmer's age and lack of criminal record to argue he should receive a lenient sentence.
Turner reportedly had to be physically forced off of the victim during the attack, which occurred in January 2015. He was then reportedly chased down and stopped by two students who held him until police arrived.
"A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him ... I think he will not be a danger to others," said Perksy in his decision.
During the hearing in Palo Alto, California, the 23-year-old victim asked the judge to use the case to send a message that rape is not acceptable, The Guardian reports.
"We cannot forgive everyone’s first sexual assault," said the victim. "The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly. We should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error."
Turner claimed the encounter was consensual and that he did not intend to rape the woman. The two student witnesses who stopped the rape said they were cycling past and saw Turner "thrusting" on top of the motionless victim behind a dumpster outside of a party.
After the witnesses intervened, police arrived and found that the woman, who was only partially dressed, was "completely unresponsive" and had a blood-alcohol level that was three times the legal limit. She regained consciousness at a hospital three hours later, and said she had no memory of the assault.
A recent survey from the White House found that 1 in 10 female college students is a victim of sexual assault, and that only 12.5 percent of rapes are reported to authorities.
"The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency," said the victim.