Former Stanford University student blames sexual assault on school’s ‘party culture’ in personal statement

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The former Stanford University student who received a six-month jail sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman blames the assault on the school’s “party culture” in his personal letter to the judge.

Last week, Brock Turner, a former swimmer at Stanford University, was sentenced to six months in county jail and probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

Turner was spotted sexually assaulting the young woman behind a dumpster outside of a Stanford University fraternity house.

Two students biking in the area spotted the assault and held Turner down until authorities could arrive.

Brock Turner Booking Photo
Brock Turner Booking Photo

After Turner was found guilty on three felony counts, including assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person, he faced a maximum of 14 years in prison.

Turner’s father called on the judge to be lenient in his sentencing, saying that his son had already paid “a steep price … for 20 minutes of action.”

Dan Turner wrote that his son “will never be his happy go lucky (sic) self with that easy-going personality and welcoming smile.”

“His every waking moment is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression,” the father wrote.

A long sentence would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 years of life,” Dan Turner wrote.

The father also said that his son is having trouble eating his favorite food — steak.

Prosecutors had asked that Brock Turner be sentenced to six years in prison for the January 2015 assault.

However, the judge only sentenced Turner to six months in county jail because he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on the 20-year-old.

“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” said the judge. “I think he will not be a danger to others.”

The judge’s decision sparked outrage across social media, especially after the victim’s 12-page impact statement was released.

“My life has been on hold for over a year, a year of anger, anguish and uncertainty, until a jury of my peers rendered a judgment that validated the injustices I had endured,” she wrote.

She explained that she went to a fraternity party near Stanford in January 2015, drank and then not knowing what happened to her between the time of the party and being conscious in a hospital with pine needles in her hair. She described the traumatic and humiliating experience of enduring an hourslong sexual assault forensic exam.

“After a few hours of this, they let me 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.”

In her statement, the victim describes Turner’s refusal to express remorse or take responsibility for his actions.

In Turner’s statement he never apologizes to the victim.

The Guardian obtained Turner’s full statement to the judge, in which he places blame on Stanford’s “party culture.”

Turner’s statement reads in part:

The night of January 17th changed my life and the lives of everyone involved forever. I can never go back to being the person I was before that day. I am no longer a swimmer, a student, a resident of California, or the product of the work that I put in to accomplish the goals that I set out in the first nineteen years of my life. Not only have I altered my life, but I’ve also changed [redacted] and her family’s life. I am the sole proprietor of what happened on the night that these people’s lives were changed forever. I would give anything to change what happened that night. I can never forgive myself for imposing trauma and pain on [redacted]. It debilitates me to think that my actions have caused her emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair. The thought of this is in my head every second of every day since this event has occurred. These ideas never leave my mind. During the day, I shake uncontrollably from the amount I torment myself by thinking about what has happened. I wish I had the ability to go back in time and never pick up a drink that night, let alone interact with [redacted]. I can barely hold a conversation with someone without having my mind drift into thinking these thoughts. They torture me. I go to sleep every night having been crippled by these thoughts to the point of exhaustion. I wake up having dreamt of these horrific events that I have caused. I am completely consumed by my poor judgement and ill thought actions. There isn’t a second that has gone by where I haven’t regretted the course of events I took on January 17th/18th. My shell and core of who I am as a person is forever broken from this. I am a changed person. At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed. I never want to experience being in a position where it will have a negative impact on my life or someone else’s ever again. I’ve lost two jobs solely based on the reporting of my case. I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me.

All I can do from these events moving forward is by proving to everyone who I really am as a person. I know that if I were to be placed on probation, I would be able to be a benefit to society for the rest of my life. I want to earn a college degree in any capacity that I am capable to do so. And in accomplishing this task, I can make the people around me and society better through the example I will set. I’ve been a goal oriented person since my start as a swimmer. I want to take what I can from who I was before this situation happened and use it to the best of my abilities moving forward. I know I can show people who were like me the dangers of assuming what college life can be like without thinking about the consequences one would potentially have to make if one were to make the same decisions that I made. I want to show that people’s lives can be destroyed by drinking and making poor decisions while doing so. One needs to recognize the influence that peer pressure and the attitude of having to fit in can have on someone. One decision has the potential to change your entire life. I know I can impact and change people’s attitudes towards the culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity that protrudes through what people think is at the core of being a college student. I want to demolish the assumption that drinking and partying are what make up a college lifestyle I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decisions hurt someone. But I never ever meant to intentionally hurt [redacted]. My poor decision making and excessive drinking hurt someone that night and I wish I could just take it all back.

If I were to be placed on probation, I can positively say, without a single shred of doubt in my mind, that I would never have any problem with law enforcement. Before this happened, I never had any trouble with law enforcement and I plan on maintaining that. I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school. I’ve lost my chance to swim in the Olympics. I’ve lost my ability to obtain a Stanford degree. I’ve lost employment opportunity, my reputation and most of all, my life. These things force me to never want to put myself in a position where I have to sacrifice everything. I would make it my life’s mission to show everyone that I can contribute and be a positive influence on society from these events that have transpired. I will never put myself through an event where it will give someone the ability to question whether I really can be a betterment to society. I want no one, male or female, to have to experience the destructive consequences of making decisions while under the influence of alcohol. I want to be a voice of reason in a time where people’s attitudes and preconceived notions about partying and drinking have already been established. I want to let young people now, as I did not, that things can go from fun to ruined in just one night.

 

 

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