ECLECTIC RANT: The Stanford Sexual Assault Case

Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 17, 2016 - 03:39:00 PM

Everyone now knows about Judge Aaron Persky's decision to give Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer, a six-month jail sentence for his conviction of three felony counts of sexual assault on an unconscious woman. Turner will probably spend three-months in county jail and then be eligible for parole. Many find this sentence far too lenient.  

Prosecutors had asked that Turner be sentenced to six years in prison for the January 2015 assault. There is now a movement to recall Judge Persky. 

What is appalling about the sixth-month sentence, is that it is not within California sentencing guidelines. Conviction of three felony counts of assault with intent to commit rape has a minimum sentence of two years with a maximum sentence of up to fourteen years with no presumption of eligibility for parole. In order to skirt the guidelines, the judge had to find that this was an "unusual case" and that the interest of justice required or would best be served by probation. He found that Turner was intoxicated prior to committing these crimes, was a very successful young man with a fine academic record with athletic accomplishments. Judge Persky feared any harsher punishment would have a negative "impact" on Turner. What about the victim you ask? This was the judge's basis for finding this an "unusual case" and justice, according to the judge, required the lenient sentence. 

What is disturbing is that this makes every women less safe at colleges and universities because that description of Turner fits most campus rape cases, which essentially takes campus rape from the category of crimes you can go to prison for and instead be awarded a lighter sentence.  

One study estimates that as many as one in four women experience sexual assault at college, though the vast majority never report it. Given the lenient sentence meted out to Turner, is it any wonder many do not even report sexual assault.  

The Stanford sexual assault case should be of great concern for women students, their parents, and school administrations.