Stanford University rapist Brock Turner was released from the Santa Clara County Jail in California on Friday, having served only half his six-month term for raping an unconscious woman. California jails routinely reduce sentences by half for inmates who show good behaviour.
Turner, a swimmer with ambitions for the Olympics, became a symbol of wealthy, white entitlement in the US when the judge hearing the case sentenced him only to six months in prison because of his youth, lack of earlier offences, and his talent as a swimmer, according to the ‘Hindustan Times’.
The judge, Aaron Persky, was faced with so much criticism after this lenient verdict, especially after a letter written by the survivor went viral on social media, that he voluntarily recused himself from all criminal cases and will begin work at Santa Clara County’s civil court next week. However, politicians and the public in the US want Persky to be removed from the judicial system completely, and the California legislature has passed tougher laws against sexual assault.
Registered sex offender
Turner, convicted in June for raping the woman when she was unconscious after drinking at a fraternity party, is now a registered sex offender in the United States and will have to spend three years under the eyes of the police in his home state, Ohio, where he will live with his parents.
Though Turner plans to appeal against this sentence, he must register as a sex offender with the office of the sheriff of Greene County, Ohio, within five days of returning home.
According to Greene County sheriff Gene Fischer, Turner will have to report to a probation officer for three years and must avoid all intoxicating substances in that time. He must also re-register at the sheriff’s office every three months to confirm that he is still living with his parents. His family’s neighbours will be informed that a convicted sex offender will be living close by, and he will be visited at random times and without warning by deputies from the sheriff’s office to ensure that he has not shifted elsewhere without police permission.
He is also banned from visiting any place where children gather, including parks and schools.
“He will be treated no differently than any other sex offender we monitor,” said Fischer.
US lawmakers campaign for removal of judge
On the day Turner stepped out of jail, state and national legislators who are part of a ‘Recall Persky’ campaign stood outside the Santa Clara County Jail, exhorting voters to ensure that Persky is removed from the legal system.
“Today, Brock Turner is a free man,” US Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez told ‘The Los Angeles Times’. “And yet women who have been sexually assaulted are still prisoners of fear.”
Democratic US Representative Eric Swalwell said: “He [Persky] takes away from our community the justice it deserves. He takes away from the public the protection that they need. And he takes away from Emily Doe the closure that the prosecutor promised to her.”
Turner could have been sentenced to anything up to 14 years in prison. The prosecutors asked for six years of jail. But Persky, while convicting Turner, gave him six months, saying that a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on his swimming career.
According to members of the Recall Persky campaign, the judge is biased towards white men.
In a similar case Persky had tried a few years ago, according to California senate leader Kevin de León, the rapist, an immigrant from El Salvador, was sentenced to three years in jail for sexually assaulting his roommate.
Feature image credit: hindustantimes.com