Sunday 25 September 2016

Stanford University sex assault swimmer Brock Turner handed 'lots of hate mail' as he's released from jail

Jane Lee

Published 02/09/2016 | 14:44

Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

A former Olympic hopeful swimmer whose six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman sparked a national outcry in the US has been released from jail after serving half his term.

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Brock Turner's case exploded into the spotlight when a poignant statement from the victim swept through social media and critics condemned his sentence as too lenient.

Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016

The 21-year-old walked out the main entrance of Santa Clara County Jail without commenting to the media and climbed into a white SUV.

He plans to head to his native Ohio to live with his parents. He must register as a sex offender for life and faces three years of supervised probation.

Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo taken January 18, 2015, and received June 7, 2016
Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo taken January 18, 2015, and received June 7, 2016

The outcry prompted California policymakers to pass a tougher sexual assault law and led to an effort to remove the judge in the case from the bench.

Turner was convicted of assaulting the young woman near a rubbish bin after they drank heavily at a fraternity party at Stanford University in January last year. He plans to appeal.

Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016

In the June sentencing, Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky cited the "extraordinary circumstances" of Turner's youth, clean criminal record and other considerations. He followed the probation department's recommendation for a "moderate" jail sentence.

Following a backlash, Judge Persky voluntarily removed himself from hearing criminal cases, starting next week.

California jail inmates with good behaviour typically serve half their sentences. Ohio prison officials earlier this month agreed to take over supervision of Turner's probation.

Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said Turner has five days to register as a sex offender with his office in Xenia, Ohio. He will have to report to a probation officer for three years and must avoid alcohol and drugs during that time.

Mr Fischer said his department will send postcards to Turner's neighbours informing them that a convicted sex offender is moving in nearby. Turner will be required to register every three months in person at the sheriff's office, reaffirming that he is still living with his parents, the sheriff said.

Officers also will check on Turner periodically and without warning to ensure he has not moved out without permission from authorities.

Turner also is barred from parks, schools and other places where children are expected to gather.

"He will be treated no differently than any other sex offender we monitor," Mr Fischer said.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Turner was given a large packet of hate mail on his release.

She said he was held in "protective custody" during his incarceration, but her department did not receive any credible threats.

"There was a lot of hate," she added.

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