Last Thursday, a judge sentenced 20-year-old Brock Turner to six months in a county jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
The sentence has been decried as a slap on the wrist, but those close to Turner have argued that the former Stanford swimmer shouldn’t be doing jail time at all.
Leslie Rasmussen, a close friend to Turner since high school, wrote a letter obtained by The Cut to Judge Aaron Persky, who is overseeing the case.
In it, she argues that Turner is not a rapist and that political correctness is partially to blame for his conviction.
“There is absolutely no way Brock went out that night with rape on his mind,” she wrote, before launching into an explanation of how political correctness has gone too far:
I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him. I am not blaming her directly for this, because that isn’t right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists.
She later wrote, “These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgment.”
Turner was found guilty of felony sexual assault for a January 2015 attack on an unconscious woman. Two graduate students saw Turner assaulting a woman behind a garbage bin outside of a fraternity house at Stanford University. When he tried to run, the graduate students pinned him down until the police arrived.
Turner’s father also penned a letter to the judge overseeing his son’s case saying that jail time would be a “steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
These responses have drawn derision from those who say they perpetuate rape culture.
Here’s the full letter:
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