Justice

The Letter Brock Turner Sent to Judge Persky Before the Final Ruling

Convicted sex offender Brock Turner's letter to Judge Aaron Persky has surfaced. Turner, who was convicted on three counts of felony sexual assault, was given a lenient sentence of six months in county jail and probation.

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A portion of this letter, obtained by The Guardian, may have helped convince Judge Persky to give Turner his light sentence. Turner, who attended Stanford University and competed in swimming, has blamed his actions (meaning, raping an unconscious woman) on alcohol:

"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."

However, as revealed in the very next sentence, Turner seems most distraught not for his victim but for his future:

"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."

In fact, nowhere in the excerpts of the letter do the words "sorry" or "apologize" or "apology" appear.

 

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In a powerful letter written by Turner's unnamed victim and published on BuzzFeed, she highlights the issue with Turner's lack of awareness for his actions:

"This is not a story of another drunk college hook­up with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident. Somehow, you still don’t get it. Somehow, you still sound confused. I will now read portions of the defendant’s statement and respond to them.

"You said, Being drunk I just couldn’t make the best decisions and neither could she.

"Alcohol is not an excuse. Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked. Having too much to drink was an amateur mistake that I admit to, but it is not criminal. Everyone in this room has had a night where they have regretted drinking too much, or knows someone close to them who has had a night where they have regretted drinking too much. Regretting drinking is not the same as regretting sexual assault. We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away. That’s the difference."

Turner explains in his letter to the judge that he believes that the best and most-fitting punishment for himself would be to serve as an "example" to others:

"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."

Again, the "one decision" Turner refers to isn't his decision to assault a woman, but to drink "too much." He places the blame not on himself, but on his school:

"I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school."

Turner's letter joins a series of statements defending his actions.

His friend, Leslie Rasmussen, wrote a letter blaming "political correctness" for Turner's conviction and his father wrote a letter to the judge referring to Turner's raping of a woman as simply "20 minutes of action."

Their letters aren't holding up with the public, however.

[H/T The Guardian]