Turner leaves jail after 3 months for sex assault
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Brock Turner, whose sixmonth sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at Stanford University sparked a national outcry, was released from jail Friday morning after serving half his sixmonth sentence.
The one-time Olympic hopeful swimmer walked out the main entrance of the Santa Clara County jail after 6 a.m. PDT. Turner, who kept his head down and didn’t acknowledge the media, carried a large packet of hate mail sent to him during his incarceration.
Turner appeared to be wearing the same shirt and pants he wore during his June 2 sentencing hearing, carrying his suit jacket under an arm.
A television station followed the rented SUV that picked him up to a nearby hotel where he checked in with his parents. He plans to head to his native Ohio to live with his parents.
The 21-year-old must register as a sex offender for life and faces three years of supervised probation.
Turner’s case exploded into the spotlight when a poignant statement from the victim swept social media even as critics decried the sentence as too lenient. It prompted California lawmakers to pass a tougher sexual assault law and led to an effort to remove the judge.
The victim said it wasn’t fair that Turner’s loss of his athletic career was taken into consideration when sentencing him.
“How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment,” the victim said.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Turner received nonspecific threats in jail in addition to the packet of hate mail given to him as he left jail. She said he was held in “protective custody” during his incarceration, but her department didn’t receive any credible or serious threats.
Smith said she thought Turner’s sentence was too light. Smith urged Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill the Assembly passed 66-0 Monday that would require mandatory prison sentences for the same crime Turner committed.
Turner was convicted of assaulting the young woman near a trash bin after they drank heavily at a fraternity party in January 2015. The victim had passed out and Turner was on top of her when confronted by two graduate students passing by on bicycles.
They chased and tackled him when he tried to flee, holding him on the ground until police arrived. Turner plans to appeal. A few protesters jeered Turner as he left the jail and more began gathering in front of the nearby courthouse to advocate for the judge’s ouster.
“His sentence was upsetting and unsettling,” said Christy Heiskala, who said she flew from San Diego to attend the protest.
Heiskala, 41, says her daughter is a high school senior planning on attending college next year.
“I’m concerned about her safety next year,” Heiskala said. “That’s why I’m here.”
Former Stanford swimmer 21-year-old Brock Turner, leaving jail Friday, must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and faces three years of supervised probation.