The father of the ex-Stanford University athlete who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman on campus has spoken out against the verdict, saying his son should not go to jail for "20 minutes of action."
Brock Turner, 19, was convicted of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside of a party on the California campus. When passersby intervened to stop the attack, Brock had to be held until police arrived, according to The Guardian. The victim was intoxicated, and did not regain consciousness until hours later, when she said that she had no memory of the encounter.
In an emotional letter that she read aloud in court, the victim recounted the questions that she was asked by the defense about details of her love life and what she was wearing on the night that she was assaulted. She also talked about the serious psychological toll the assault took on her, describing how she lost her job and had frequent nightmares because of the anxiety and stress.
Judge Aaron Persky gave Brock a six month sentence in county jail instead of the maximum of 14 years in state prison that he faced, citing his age and lack of criminal record. Persky's ruling has been widely criticized for being too lenient. "The punishment does not fit the crime," said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
Michelle Dauber, a law professor at Stanford, tweeted an excerpt from a statement made by Dan Turner, Brock's father, in which he criticized Brock's six month sentence as "a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action."
"Brock always enjoyed certain types of food ... now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist," Dan said in his statement.
"What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. Brock, Dan said, "has never been violent to anyone," including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015," the night that the assault occurred.
On social media, the statement was criticized as tone-deaf. "It's the utter lack of self-awareness and context that makes Brock Turner's dad's statement so chilling," tweeted author and actor John Hodgman.
The reaction to Brock's father's defense is a sharp contrast to that of the letter from the victim, which Rosen praised as "the most eloquent, powerful and compelling piece of victim advocacy that I've seen in my 20 years as a prosecutor."
"You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today," she said, according to Fusion. "I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt."