SAN JOSE, Calif. A former Stanford University swimmer, whose six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015 was widely decried as too lenient, is set to be released from a San Francisco-area jail on Friday.
Brock Turner, 21, is scheduled to leave the Santa Clara County’s main jail in San Jose after serving just three months for assault with intent to commit rape, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person. Prosecutors had asked that Turner be given six years in state prison and, under normal sentencing guidelines, he likely would have received at least two years.
Inmates sentenced to county jail in California often serve just 50 percent of their sentences before being released for such factors as good behavior, according to legal experts.
There has been widespread uproar over the case, with California Attorney General Kamala Harris slamming the sentence and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden offering support for the victim. The case is a high-profile example that highlights growing concern over sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses.
A statement to the court by the anonymous victim, that detailed the assault and its repercussions on her life, fueled outrage at Turner’s light sentence.
A letter from Turner’s father to the judge that described what occurred as “20 minutes of action” also was heavily criticized.
Protesters have planned a Friday morning demonstration outside the jail pushing for the recall of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who has been the target of fierce criticism after sentencing the former swimmer. Last month, Persky asked to be assigned to the court’s civil division.
The case also prompted California lawmakers to pass legislation on Monday that would bar probation in similar cases.
Legislators say current state law calls for a mandatory prison term in cases of rape or sexual assault where force is used, but not when the victim is unconscious or severely intoxicated and thus unable to give consent.
The bill, which must still be signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, would eliminate a judge’s discretion to sentence defendants convicted of such crimes to probation.
Another piece of legislation passed by lawmakers would expand the definition of rape.
(Reporting by Cassie Patton and Jane Lee in San Jose; Writing by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Bernadette Baum)