When you read the sentencing statements in support of Stanford University rapist Brock Turner, you begin to notice a common thread: denial. Denial not that it happened, but that he deserves to be punished.
The Stanford University swimmer was last week sentenced to just six months in prison, after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a fraternity party in January 2015. The seemingly lenient sentence – the maximum penalty is 14 years – has sparked global outrage and a campaign to have Judge Aaron Persky recalled from the bench.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Turner’s maternal grandparents, Carolyn and Richard Bradfield, were unable to attend the trial or last Thursday’s sentencing due to health reasons, however they wrote to Judge Aaron Persky in support of their grandson.
“We were shocked, and stunned by the outcome and left to the only thing we could do – hold each other and cry,” they wrote of his conviction. “Brock is the only person being held accountable for the actions of other irresponsible adults.”
It is unclear to whom they were referring as “irresponsible adults”.
Turner’s sister, Caroline, also issued Persky with a reference, pleading for him not to be imprisoned, stating that her brother has become a “shell of his former self” since his arrest.
“When he first returned from California a few days after the incident, I remember Brock needing to be constantly touched and held. He was suffering immensely and couldn’t sleep alone, much like me when I was a young child,” wrote the 22-year-old.
“A series of alcohol-fueled decisions that he made within an hour time span will define him for the rest of his life. Goodbye to NCAA championships. Goodbye to the Olympics. Goodbye to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Goodbye to life as he knew it.”
The sentiment from family friend and former federal prosecutor, Margaret Quinn, was much the same. Her statement encouraged Persky to consider the “collateral consequences” of Turner’s conviction as adequate punishment.
“There is no doubt Brock made a mistake that night – he made a mistake in drinking excessively to the point where he could not fully appreciate that his female acquaintance was so intoxicated,” Quinn wrote. “I know Brock did not go to that party intending to hurt, or entice, or overpower anyone. That is not his nature. It has never been.”
Turner’s lawyer’s plan to appeal his conviction.