Turner leaves jail af­ter 3 months for sex as­sault

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Paul Elias

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.”

DAN HONDA/BAY AREA NEWS GROUP

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.

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