Here are 9 things you should know about the Stanford sex assault case
Veronica Rocha and Brittny Mejia report in the LA Times:
The Santa Clara County Superior Court released the entire case file early Friday on former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster on campus.
The document release follows growing public outrage over Turner’s sentencing. The court file contains 471 pages of documents, including police reports, medical treatments, witness statements, letters and photographs. The names of the victim and her sister have been redacted from the court documents.
Court spokesman Joseph Macaluso said the release of documents is not unusual for Santa Clara County Superior Court.
“It’s actually our standard process,” he said.
Turner’s sentencing last week sparked controversy, as critics contended that Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was too lenient on the college athlete. Letters from the victim and Turner’s father have also fueled national debate over campus sexual assaults and the criminal justice system.
Turner was convicted in March of three felony counts: assault with the intent to commit rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration of an unconscious person and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person.
He was facing a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, while prosecutors asked Persky to sentence him to six years in prison.
Instead, Persky sentenced Turner to six months in county jail and three years of probation. Turner is likely to serve only half of that sentence due to California’s felony sentencing realignment.
Now, an effort to recall Persky is underway and nearly a million people have signed online petitions calling on the California Commission for Judicial Performance to remove him.
Fallout from the sentencing also prompted two women who had submitted testimony on Turner’s behalf to apologize and rescind their support for the defendant.
On Friday, hours after the court released the case file, USA Swimming banned Turner from ever joining the organization due to his “crime and actions,” CNN reported.
Here are nine things you should know from the court documents:
1) Turner lied about never partying and taking drugs before enrolling at Stanford, prosecutors said.
In a letter submitted to Persky prior to sentencing, Turner said he came from a small town in Ohio and never experienced partying that involved alcohol. But when he started attending Stanford, Turner wrote, he began drinking to relieve the stress of school and competitive swimming. He blamed a “party culture and risk-taking behavior” for his actions.
But prosecutors said they found text messages and photographs that show Turner lied and has a history of partying.
Investigators found photographs of Turner smoking from a pipe and holding a bong. A photo of a bong was found as well as a video showing Turner smoking from a bong and drinking from a bottle of liquor.
“Furthermore, there are many text messages that are indicative of drug use, both during the defendant’s time at Stanford and during his time in Ohio when he was still in high school.”
In a message sent to a friend in 2014, Turner asked: “Do you think I could buy some wax so we could do some dabs?” Dabs is a reference to smoking a highly potent form of cannabis, known as honey oil.
Turner also talked about using acid while in high school and at Stanford. He bragged about taking LSD and MDMA together, an act referred to as “candyflippin,” according to prosecutors. . . .
Later in the article:
(9) “He should have known better.” More than 250 students signed a letter submitted to Persky before Turner’s sentencing, asking that he be held accountable for his actions.
In a letter to Persky, founding members of the Stanford Assn. of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention pleaded that Turner receive a sentence of no less than two years for the sexual assault, saying that a short sentence or probation would be inappropriate.
“In line with our fellow students, we see no reason to provide a sentence less than what the law provides, and we encourage you to follow these guidelines. He does not deserve an exception and we hope you will not make one for him,” the group said.
A light sentence, the group said, would cause victims to lose trust in the legal system, and send the wrong message, leaving widespread impacts on college campuses everywhere.
“As a privileged member of an institute of higher education, he should have known better,” they said.
According to the group, Turner received extensive education on sexual violence as he was required to complete an online training program on consent, sexual abuse and alcohol use before arriving on campus. He also listened to hours of speeches on “the importance of acquiring consent and not engaging in sexual activities when alcohol is involved or the other person is unconscious and unable to give consent.”
“The multitude of training shows that Mr. Turner was surely aware of the gravity of his wrongdoings, and yet he still chose to commit a horrendous crime,” the group said.
The group’s letter ended with a final plea for Persky to restore “a climate of trust and safety” on campus.
“His actions have resulted in serious consequences affecting the entirety of Stanford’s campus. Standing in support of survivors, students’ well-being, and the innocent woman victimized by Mr. Turner’s actions, we ask that you affirm the dignity of survivors and reinstate a climate of trust and safety by providing an adequate punishment that meets the severity of Mr. Turner’s actions. We must ensure that violent crimes will not be tolerated.”