( 4UMF NEWS ) Ex-Stanford Swimmer Released From Jail After 3 Months:
Ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, whose sexual assault conviction and sentencing sparked a national debate about “rape culture” on college campuses and white privilege in the legal system, walked out of Santa Clara County jail early Friday morning in San Jose after spending three months behind bars.
Turner, wearing a white shirt and holding a paper bag with his belongings, exited the jail at 6:08 a.m. with his head down and got into a white SUV that drove off to San Francisco International Airport. Turner lives in a suburban town in Ohio. He didn’t say anything to the throng of media agencies awaiting his departure from jail.
There were no formal protests outside of the jail. And Turner was not booed or harmed, as some had feared. But rape survivor Andrea Murphy was one of the few non-reporters who came to the event, saying she came just to look Turner in the eye. Sheriff Laurie Smith, however, told reporters that this was an “outrage, outrage,” describing what Turner did as a “rape” of an unconscious drunk woman. She added that Turner should “not have spent time in our jail,” meaning that she thought the young man should have been given a harsher sentence in a state prison.
In a statement to Gov. Brown on the release dated Aug. 31, Smith wrote that she urged him to sign the bill to “make clear that probation is not a fair sentence for anyone convicted of a sexual assault felony perpetrated against an intoxicated and unconscious victim.”
Smith said in her statement that as a sheriff and mother, “I do believe that the interests of justice are best served by ensuring that sexual predators are sent to prison as punishment for their crime.”
“Victims of these types of sexual assaults struggle for years to cope with the damage done to their lives and knowing that there is a more just punishment to those that perpetrated these assaults may provide some solace to these victims,” she said.
A jury found Turner, 21, guilty in March of three counts of sexually assaulting an unconscious and intoxicated woman in January 2015. Turner served half of a six-month sentence — his early release is due to good behavior — that has brought heavy criticism on Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.
Later in the day, women’s groups such as Ultraviolet planned to protest Turner’s release, and continue their plight against Persky. Activists want the judge removed from the bench because of Turner’s sentence, which could have been as long as 14 years.
Perksy voluntarily recused himself from all criminal cases last week. Inmates are routinely set free early due to good behavior.
As a condition of his release, Turner will be required to complete a sex offender management program and participate in polygraph tests, according to his probation conditions. He is also banned from stepping on the Stanford campus ever again.
Because of the firestorm surrounding the case, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s department had braced for a large, emotional crowd of protesters at the main jail. Smith said in an interview this week that Turner was not expected to get any special treatment. She said that she put at least four extra deputies on staff, but Turner “will be leaving the jail exactly as everyone does,” through the front door “at a normal release time,” Smith emphasized.
The trial and subsequent outrage prompted a California sex assault bill that’s now being considered by Gov. Jerry Brown.
A Stanford student testified that he saw Turner on top of a woman who wasn’t moving and, with another student, tackled the swimmer to the ground when he tried to run away. The woman, who graduated from UC Santa Barbara, said she had been drinking and did not want to have sex with Turner at a fraternity party they had attended. The case’s profile rose even further when the young woman wrote a powerful letter describing her experience in an unusually direct way, earning praise across the country and even from Vice President Joe Biden. She has not been named publicly.
Turner’s father drew attention to the case by writing a letter to the court saying just “20 minutes of action” should not justify a stint in jail.
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