Sunday 25 February 2018

'What he did to me doesn’t expire, it stays with me' - Young woman sexually assaulted by ex-Stanford swimmer reads powerful letter to him in court

Brock Allen Turner
Brock Allen Turner
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A young woman who claimed she was raped by a former Stanford University swimmer read a powerful letter to her attacker as she came face-to-face with him in court.

Brock Allen Turner (20) was accused of raping the 23-year-old woman when she was unconscious at a campus party.

Turner who was part of Stanford's high-powered swimming program was convicted in Santa Clara County Superior Court of three counts of sexual assault.

He had been facing a 10-year prison term but was given just six months because he didn’t have a criminal past and was “remorseful” for what he did.

The women said she was disappointed at the “gentle” sentence and was outraged that Turner still denied the attack.

He admitted that he removed her underwear and touched her with his hands, but denied raping her.

“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she said.

“What he did to me doesn’t expire; (it) doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life,” she said.

She said she had let her guard down at the party and “blacked out” after drinking four shots.

“The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. I thought maybe I had fallen and was in an admin office on campus.”

She described how she was examined in hospital and asked to sign papers that said 'Rape Victim' before being allowed to shower.

“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else."

The victim said after the incident she didn’t tell her family or boyfriend and “pretended the whole thing wasn’t real.”

She eventually discovered what had happened to her reading the news on her phone and came across an article about how she was found unconscious.

“This was how I learned what happened to me, sitting at my desk reading the news at work. I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned what happened to me,” she said.

After reading about the assault in the news she sought the support of her family and told them what happened to her.

Speaking after judge Persky handed down the six month sentence, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement on Thursday: “The punishment does not fit the crime.”

“The predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth. The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim's ongoing trauma.”

The jury found Turner guilty of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person.

He was also handed three years' probation but with good behaviour he is expected to serve three months in county jail, The Mercury News reported.

Turner will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and complete a sex offender management program.

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