Justice

Ex-Colorado U Student Won't Get Jail Time for Rape

For the second time in 2016, the sentencing of a student in a college rape case is drawing national scrutiny.

Austin James Wilkerson, 22, former University of Colorado student, admitted to sexually assaulting a drunk woman — and will receive no jail time for his crime. Those critical of the light punishment drew immediate parallels to the case of Stanford student Brock Turner, who was sentenced to six months in jail after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.

Wilkerson was sentenced to at least 20-years probation and two years of work or school release, according to The Denver Post.

Similar to Judge Aaron Persky, who expressed what some considered excessive concern about the impact of a prison sentence on Turner, Judge Patrick Butler told a local news outlet that he worried that putting Wilkerson in prison would not produce "a great result."

"I've struggled, to be quite frank, with the idea of, 'Do I put him in prison?' I don't know that there is any great result for anybody," Butler told Daily Camera. "Mr. Wilkerson deserves to be punished, but I think we all need to find out whether he truly can or cannot be rehabilitated."

The sentence came despite the victim's request that Butler not concern himself with protecting Wilkerson. "Have as much mercy for the rapist as he did for me that night," she told the court, according to Daily Camera.

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In another parallel Turner's case, the victim told the court that she felt blame for her assault was being shifted away from the man who assaulted her, and shifted to college culture in general.

"Worst of all is the victim blaming. If I hadn't been drunk, this wouldn't have happened. If I hadn't gotten separated, this wouldn't have happened.' Yet it was excusable for him to rape me because he was drunk?" she asked.

About the assault

It was reported that when Wilkerson encountered the drunken woman he initially tried to care for her, according to The Guardian:

"'He made certain his roommate saw him checking her pulse and temperature, and giving her water,' prosecutors wrote. After the assault of the woman, who was then a first-year student and is now 21 years old, 'he sent a message to the victim’s friend who then thanked him for caring for the victim'."

However, Wilkerson then "made repeated advances" which she kept "rebuffing." That's when he called her "a fucking bitch."

He told his friends that he "fingered a girl while passed out" because he "let his hands wander" — which he initially denied to police, saying that the encounter was consensual. He went on to penetrate her and "ejaculate on her stomach."

During the beginning of the trial, he doubled down on his assertion, painting an entirely different picture of the assault, saying that his victim was not passed-out drunk and that she was with him "passionately."