USA Swimming has confirmed that Brock Turner, the 20-year-old Stanford University student convicted of the sexual assault of an unconscious woman outside a fraternity party, is banned from competing for his country.
The organisation told USA Today Sport that Turner’s conviction makes him ineligible for membership, a revelation that effectively spells the end of his American swimming career.
“USA Swimming strictly prohibits and has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct, with firm Code of Conduct policies in place, and severe penalties, including a permanent ban of membership, for those who violate our Code of Conduct,” said a USA Swimming spokesperson.
Judge Aaron Persky last week sentenced Turner to six months in prison for the January 2015 assault, in a seemingly lenient decision that has sparked widespread outrage and a global campaign to have him recalled from the bench.
In sentencing Turner, Persky – himself a former Stanford athlete – said a longer prison term would “have a severe impact on him” and that he was satisfied “he will not be a danger to others”.
Prior to making his decision, Persky had been provided with 39 character references in support of Turner, many of which mentioned how the inevitable end of his swimming career would be punishment enough for the ambitious athlete.
Among them, the statement from his sister, Caroline, who lamented how “a series of alcohol-fueled decisions” had reshaped her brother’s entire future.
“Goodbye to NCAA championships,” she wrote. “Goodbye to the Olympics. Goodbye to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Goodbye to life as he knew it.”
However, in her own powerful letter, Turner’s 23-year-old victim urged Persky to disregard her attacker’s potential in the pool when handing down his punishment.
“The fact that Brock was a star athlete at a prestigious university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency,” she said, “but as an opportunity to send a strong cultural message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class.”
Turner is expected to be released from prison on September 2, just three months in to his sentence.
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