After serving only half of his six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, rapist and former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was released from jail on Friday. Turner's shockingly lenient sentence had been shortened for good behavior. He will now serve his three-year probation period, most likely in his home state of Ohio, and will be registered as a sex offender.
In January 2015, Turner was seen sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on Stanford University's campus during a fraternity party. When two students approached to make sure the woman was all right, Turner immediately ran, only to be tackled by those same students and held down until police arrived at the scene.
Turner was released around 6 a.m. PST on September 2, 2016, and did not speak with anyone as he hurried past a mix of reporters and protestors before getting into an awaiting car. Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told multiple sources, "He should be in prison right now, but he's not in our custody ... if you rape someone who is unconscious and intoxicated, you go to prison."
Turner was found guilty of three felony counts of sexual assault in June, and faced up to 14 years in prison. However, the judge in the case, Aaron Persky, chose to give Turner 6 months plus 3 years probation, sparking so much national outrage that Judge Persky has since announced he will no longer hear criminal cases.
Turner's case recently inspired a new bill in California. The bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown would mandate that a defendant charged with raping a victim who is unconscious or inebriated face the same level of prison time as one convicted of forcible rape. The authors of the bill intended it not only as a way to ensure sex offenders come to justice, but to create a culture in which victims feel more comfortable coming forward with their accusations, and are well served by the justice system. It passed unanimously.
Stanford also passed new polices that restrict undergraduate students from drinking hard alcohol at on-campus parties. The new Stanford ruling echoes Turner claims when he blamed alcohol and partying on the victim’s rape. Many claim the new policy is blaming alcohol, not assailants, for sexual assault.
Turner was charged with 5 felonies. Convicted of 3 of those 5 felonies. Faced 14 years in prison, only received 6 months and got out after 3.