Former Stanford University student Brock Turner was given a six-month sentence in a county jail for his conviction of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman in January 2015.
The sentence, which many commentators have described as unusually light, was handed down on June 2 by Judge Aaron Persky. Persky said in his reasoning for making the decision that he thinks Turner will not be "a danger to others" and feared a longer sentence might have a "severe impact" on him, New York Magazine reports.
Some are pointing to letters from Turner's family and friends as a potential reason for the light sentence. One such letter came from Turner's father, Dan, which has become infamous after reportedly referring to the rape as "20 minutes of action."
Another letter came from Turner's childhood friend Leslie Rasmussen. In it, she lauds Turner as being "always the sweetest to everyone" during high school and even calls the incident "a huge misunderstanding," according to The Huffington Post.
In one part of the letter, Rasmussen argues that the incident likely stemmed from a combination of the college drinking culture with political correctness.
"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."
The letter goes on to question the perception of campus rape, highlighting the role played by alcohol:
"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.”